Alex Murdaugh Pleads Guilty to Federal Conspiracy, Wire Fraud, Bank Fraud, and Money Laundering Charges
Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Beth Drake stated today that Shanteley Latrice Howard, age 33, and Kermit Lee Smith, age 29, both of Florence, S.C., pled guilty in federal court in Florence, South Carolina. Howard pled guilty to conspiracy to manufacture and pass counterfeit money, and Smith pled guilty to conspiracy to pass counterfeit money, both in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. United States District Judge Bryan Harwell of Florence accepted the pleas and will impose sentences after he has reviewed the presentence reports which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.
The evidence presented at the guilty plea hearing established that Howard and Smith were involved in a conspiracy to manufacture and pass counterfeit $100 and $50 bills in multiple states including South Carolina and North Carolina. This conspiracy, which began in 2015, included at least nine co-defendants who were responsible for making and passing over $100,000 in counterfeit money. During the search of a residence in Florence, agents seized an Epson Workforce printer and a genuine $100 “parent note”, both of which belonged to Howard and were used to print counterfeit $100 bills. In fact, over one thousand counterfeit $100 bills bearing the same serial number as this “parent note” were passed during the course of the conspiracy. Howard also passed counterfeit $100 and $50 bills on multiple occasions at businesses in Florence and other locations in South Carolina. Smith, Howard and another co-defendant traveled together to the Upstate area of South Carolina where, on October 23, 2016, they each passed counterfeit $100 bills at a grocery store in Easley.
Ms. Drake stated the maximum penalty Howard and Smith can receive is imprisonment for 5 years and a fine of $250,000.00.
The case was investigated by agents of United States Secret Service with the assistance of the Florence County Sheriff’s Office and the Florence Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney A. Bradley Parham of the Florence office is prosecuting the case.
Lance Crick (864) 282-2105