South Carolina Sheriff’s Assistant talks about how she concealed expensive air travel

Prosecution witnesses told a federal jury Wednesday that former Chester County Alex “Big A” Underwood and his chief deputy paid more than $ 5,000 to the county’s public funds to pay them and their wives to fly. First class of the tournament in Reno, Nevada, telling how to remove information about receipts indicating that they have spent.

“I whitened it and sent it to the county,” said Sheriff’s top assistant at the Underwood office, who was responsible for various departmental functions such as replying to emails, processing invoices, and scheduling travel. Hope Bradley testified.

Bradley knew that spending county money to fly first class was not only against the county’s policy, but it was also against the policy to spend public money to pay for a spouse’s trip, but she Said he responded to the wishes of senior officials in the department.

that is Day 3 of Public Corruption Trial At a federal court in downtown Colombia. Underwood, his former chief deputy Robert Sprouse and former lieutenant Johnny Richard Neale, are faced with a number of conspiracy charges alleging that they have abused their public office for private gain.

Following a cross-examination by federal prosecutor William Miller, Bradley told a jury in June 2017 a first-class flight to Underwood and his wives Angel and Sprouse and his wife Catherine Reno. He said he was processing a payment request for four tickets.

“That’s what the sheriff and Sprouse told me to do,” Bradley said, and Sprouse had a way to send invoice information to the county treasurer without his spouse’s name to pay for his wife. I explained that I asked her if there was any disapproval.

“I told him I could work on it and see if I could fix it,” Bradley testified.

Eventually, Bradley told the jury that he could use the whiteout to remove his wife’s name and reference to first-class tickets in the section of the bill that was to be sent to the accounting firm for payment. I thought.

At that time, the prosecutor was displayed on a video screen visible to the jury and the audience before and after the version of the censored document. The censored document had a large white rectangular patch. The uncensored document contained important information about his wife’s name and details of a prestigious trip.

“The sheriff asked for first class because he needed more space under his feet,” Bradley testified.

In another document dealing with a trip to Reno, Bradley testified and inserted the names of two other deputy sheriffs in place of his wife’s name.

Early Wednesday morning, Chester County Treasury Secretary Thomas Derby said Sprouse would eventually bring two checks to his office and pay for his wife’s first-class flight trip to Reno for $ 1,311 each. I testified.

According to an exhibition presented to judges on Wednesday, the day after Charleston Post and Courier reporter Tony Bertherm emailed a request for freedom of information to the sheriff’s department for information on travel in 2017. These refunds were made in March 2019.

The reporter’s FOI request states that the newspaper plans to talk in the sheriff’s department and, according to the document, plans to report that the two wives flew to Reno with their husband at public expense. It was.

In a Derby cross-examination by Underwood’s lawyer Stanley Myers, Derby can’t tell the jury whether Reno’s airfare claim against his wife is illegal, but he pays public money for first-class travel and spouse’s airfare. He said it was illegal to use it. County policy.

“Do you just want to know if someone has come to you and said something illegal?” Myers asked.

Derby replied, “It wasn’t a conversation.”

In another Derby cross-examination, Sprouse’s lawyer Michelle Laubshire asked, “Did he lie and try to hide something?” When Sprouse made a refund of the airfare.

Derby replied, “No, teacher.”

“Have he ever told you to lie?” Laubshire said.

“No, sir,” said Derby.

Prosecutor Miller asked Derby, “Are you a good caretaker of people’s money?”

“Yes,” the treasurer replied.

Bradley said it was fun to work in the sheriff’s department. “Everyone was like a family — most of the time,” she testified.