Former Cherokee County Deputy Clerk Sentenced to Prison
Contact Person: Bill Watkins (864) 282-2100
Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Melanie D. Sparks, age 40, of Gaffney, South Carolina, was sentenced yesterday evening in federal court in Anderson, South Carolina, for embezzlement, a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 666. United States District Judge Timothy M. Cain of Anderson sentenced Sparks to eight months imprisonment followed by 8 months of home confinement and ordered her to pay restitution.
Evidence presented in court established that Sparks is a former deputy clerk in the child support section of the Cherokee County Clerk of Court’s office. Part of her job was to receive, document, and record the receipt of child support payments. An internal audit revealed a shortfall of $60,575.15 (January 2008-November 2009). This money had been in the care and custody of Cherokee County. According to the audit, there were 56 instances where the amount deposited into the child support checking account was less than the amount recorded as being collected by the daily cash receipt reports.
An investigation revealed that Sparks began taking money from the cash receipts at the Clerk’s Office in early 2008. In embezzling the funds, Sparks would often rewrite the deposit tickets of other workers at the office (without their knowledge) and thus steal from child support payments. Sparks used the money to pay personal expenses and to fund an online business that sold pottery.
The case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the State Law Enforcement Division. Assistant United States Attorney Bill Watkins of the Greenville office handled the case.