financial officer sentenced to nearly three years for defrauding Sumter County nonprofit | USAO-SC

COLOMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA —Rodney Ellis, 71, of Sumter, was sentenced to nearly three years in federal prison after pleading guilty to his role in defrauding a local nonprofit.

Evidence presented to the court showed that as a financial officer for Sumter Behavioral Health Services (SBHS), a 501c3 nonprofit, Ellis defrauded the nonprofit out of more than $800,000 over eight year. His scheme involved diverting funds from SBHS bank accounts to his own personal bank accounts.

United States District Judge Terry L. Wooten sentenced Ellis to 33 months in federal prison, followed by three years of court-ordered supervision. Ellis was also ordered to pay restitution to SBHS in the amount of $812,259.07. There is no parole in the federal system.

“By robbing an organization that serves people with addictions, Ellis took those he should have protected,” said U.S. Attorney Adair F. Boroughs. “This case shows that financial crimes are not victimless and often hurt the most those who need help the most. This office will continue to vigorously pursue the fraud, and we appreciate the efforts of all state and federal agencies involved in this case.

“Ellis used his position of power to take advantage of a system designed to help people with substance abuse issues,” said Susan Ferensic, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Columbia Special Agent in Charge. “Our work is not finished. The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to dismantle schemes that harm healthcare organizations and we will hold perpetrators accountable. »

“I am grateful to the United States Attorney’s Office for their efforts to bring Rodney Ellis to justice,” Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis said. “Ellis betrayed the trust not only of members of the Sumter Behavioral Health Office, but also of the citizens of Sumter County. We hope the message is clear: Anyone who betrays their employer’s trust by taking funds will be held accountable. responsible and every effort will be made to bring him to justice.

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Sumter County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Bower prosecuted the case.

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