HAMPTON, SC (Oct. 21, 2022) – A former bookkeeper for a family-owned hardware and concrete business in Estill has been convicted of swindling more than $317,000.
April Hadwin Shaffer, 53, of Two Sisters Ferry Road in Estill was found guilty Wednesday of breach of trust over $10,0000 following a three-day trial at the Hampton County Courthouse. She was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison, suspended to a three-year active sentence, followed by five years’ probation. A suspended sentence means the defendant must successfully serve her active sentence and complete probation or face serving the entire sentence.
The amount of restitution Shaffer will pay to Wiggins & Son has not been determined. The store’s accountant testified at trial that the amount of theft was over $317,000.
“Mrs. Shaffer was a trusted employee who took advantage of that position and used it for her own personal benefit,” said Francine Norz of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, who prosecuted the case.
Shaffer was responsible for preparing the daily bank deposits of the business’s cash receipts.
“The defendant would pocket some of the money, under-report the day’s cash sales by a corresponding amount, then deposit less cash into the company’s bank account each day and falsify the deposit documents,” Norz said. “This went on for at least five years.”
Investigators combed through years of cash register receipts, the defendant’s handwritten records and bank deposit slips. The money was taken between January 2014 and January 2019.
South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Senior Special Agent David Williams investigated the case.
Norz prosecutes fraud and financial crimes. She has been with the Solicitor’s Office since 2006.
Circuit Court Judge Carmen Mullen handed down the sentence.