Former Fifth Circuit Director of Communications Sentenced in Federal Court for Fraud
Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon announced today that Nicole Halliett Holland, age 50, former Director of Communications for the Fifth Circuit Solicitor’s Office and a resident of Columbia, South Carolina, was sentenced to three years probation after pleading guilty to committing Wire Fraud and Mail Fraud. Senior United States District Court Judge Cameron McGowan Currie presided. Holland also was ordered to pay $11,164.60 in restitution to the Solicitor’s Office.
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 for office-related expenses, she made the following unauthorized purchases, among others:
• In May 2017, various hotel stays at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, totaling over $2,700. These charges correlate to Count 11 of the Indictment, 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 of the Bank of America statement ending on March 8, 2017, which contained this expense.
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 L. Richardson, and William C. Lewis of the Columbia office prosecuted the case.