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Columbia, S.C. Attorney Pleads Guilty to Making a False Statement to a Federal Agent

JUN 13 (COLUMBIA, S.C.) – Joenathan Shelly Chaplin, an attorney in Columbia, S.C. appeared in federal court today before U.S. District Judge Margaret B. Seymour and pleaded guilty to making a false statement to a federal agent, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

Thomas J. Holloman III, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI); Harry S. Sommers, Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) which overseas South Carolina, and Wayne L. Dixie, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) join U.S. Attorney Tompkins in making today’s announcement.

According to court documents and today’s plea hearing, Chaplin, 47, admitted to knowingly and willfully making a materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement and representation to the government. Specifically, court documents indicate, Chaplin told a special agent from the Department of Treasury that he was not aware of the reporting requirements of Form 8300. Form 8300 (“Report of Cash Payments Over $10,000 Received in a Trade or Business”) must be filed with the IRS if a person or business has received over $10,000 in one transaction or a series of related transactions while conducting their trade or business.

Chaplin has been released on bond. At sentencing, he faces a maximum prison term of five years, a $250,000 fine, or both. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

The case was investigated by IRS-CI, DEA and ATF. The prosecution is being handled for the government by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina in Charlotte, upon recusal of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina.

The DEA encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.justthinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.


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