South Carolina DMV Worker Pleads Guilty to Theft
U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of South Carolina
August 23, 2011
COLUMBIA, SC—United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Wendy Gaskins, age 40, of West Columbia, pled guilty today in federal court in Columbia to theft concerning programs receiving federal funds, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 666(a)(1)(A). United States District Judge Cameron McGowan Currie accepted the plea and will impose a sentence on November 22.
Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that Gaskins was a project manager in the Capital Improvements Department of the SC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Between February 2009 and June 2010, she embezzled approximately $301,454.27 from the DMV, some of which was federal funding.
J. Creech Construction and Inspection was nominally a company controlled by Gaskins that supposedly performed work at DMV sites and was paid for such work. Gaskins held the position at the DMV that approved completed work by vendors, and she approved the Creech invoices.
Gaskins sent procurement paperwork to the DMV on behalf of Creech. She then used her state computer to generate invoices. The checks were sent to Creech through a UPS Store box controlled by Gaskins. Gaskins spent the money on home renovations and paying off her mortgage.
Mr. Nettles stated the maximum penalty Gaskins can receive is a fine of $250,000 and/or imprisonment for 10 years, plus a special assessment of $100.
The case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Winston D. Holliday, Jr., of the Columbia office handled the case.
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