AP NEWS

Florence resident admits to conspiring to defraud

April 3, 2018 GMT

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Eric Wilson of Florence pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in Columbia to conspiracy to commit wire, mail or bank fraud, a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349, U.S. Attorney Beth Drake said.

U.S. District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis of Columbia accepted the guilty plea and will impose sentence after she has reviewed the presentence report that will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.

Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that the U.S. Secret Service began investigating Wilson when it received a tip that he was selling counterfeit checks in Florence. A confidential informant was used to purchase counterfeit checks from Wilson in 2013 and 2014.

An examination of the checks revealed that they were connected to an ongoing investigation involving $20,000,000 in losses being investigated by the New York Field Office of the Secret Service since 2007. The counterfeit checks were mailed to Wilson and others throughout the United States then either spent or sold.

The maximum penalty for conspiracy to commit mail, wire or financial fraud is imprisonment for up to thirty years, a one million dollar fine and five years’ supervised release, Drake said.

The case was investigated by agents of the Florence Police Department and the U.S. Secret Service. Assistant United States Attorney William E. Day II of the Columbia office is prosecuting the case.