Former Fifth Circuit Director of Communications Pleads Guilty in Federal Court to Fraud
Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon announced that Nicole Halliett Holland, 49, former Director of Communications for the Fifth Circuit Solicitor’s Office and a resident of Columbia, pled guilty in federal court today to two fraud counts, one Wire Fraud and the other Mail Fraud. Senior United States District Court Judge Cameron McGowan Currie presided. Sentencing has been set for February 26, 2019.
Facts presented in court established that from 2011 to March 2018, Holland was employed by Daniel Edward Johnson at the Fifth Circuit Solicitor’s Office. During her time of employment, Nicole Holland used Solicitor’s Office funds to pay for personal expenses.
Using a Solicitor’s Office credit card issued to her to pay for office-related expenses, she made the following unauthorized purchases:
• In May 2017, various hotel stays at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Hopkinsville, KY, totaling over $2,700. These charges correlate to Count 11, which is the wire fraud for the August 7, 2017, payment covering these personal expenses.
• In March 2017, a $1,020 expense for a family member’s orthodontics treatment that Holland labelled as “tournament sponsorship.” This charge correlates to Count 19, the mailing and receipt of the Bank of America statement ending on March 8, 2017, which contained this expense.
Holland faces up to twenty years in federal prison, with a potential fine up to $250,000.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorneys Winston D. Holliday, Jr., Alyssa Leigh Richardson, and William C. Lewis of the Columbia office are prosecuting the case.