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During an upcoming sentencing hearing, the U.S. Attorney's Office plans to recommend that a federal judge sentence former Beaufort County Clerk of Court Elizabeth Smith to jail time for misusing federal child support enforcement funds, a prosecutor says.
Smith, 48, is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty in March to one count of conversion of public funds for writing five checks worth $338,500 to pay her husband's salary while he oversaw the Beaufort County Drug Court between January 2006 and June 2009. The charge carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. District Judge Sol Blatt accepted Smith's plea in April.
Prosecutor Winston Holliday of the U.S. Attorney's Office said a date for the sentencing hearing has not been set but said he plans to recommend Smith serve some time in jail.
"I am reviewing her pre-sentence report now," Holliday said of the filing submitted by the U.S. Probation Office. "We will likely recommend a sentence of incarceration in line with what the pre-sentence report indicates. At this point, I can't get any more detailed."
Smith is currently serving five years of probation after being convicted by a Beaufort County jury in September of embezzlement of public funds and misconduct in office for writing checks worth $23,500 from public accounts to help pay for insurance premiums for relatives and a vacation home on Pawleys Island.
The federal indictment against Smith was handed down the day after Smith was found guilty in state court.
Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at twitter.com/ProtectServeBft.