14th Circuit Solicitor's Office​

Allendale, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties​

Serial bank robber receives federal prison sentence

CHARLESTON, SC (Sept. 20, 2023) – A serial bank robber from Georgia who targeted and robbed a Hardeeville branch in 2019 has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.

The conviction is a result of a long-running partnership between the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Eli Scrutchins, 49, of Woodstock, Ga., was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Charleston to serve 240 months in the Federal Bureau of Prisons for his role in the Oct. 8, 2019, armed robbery of the South State Bank on Whyte Hardee Boulevard.  In March 2022, Scrutchins pleaded guilty to armed bank robbery, and possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon. He was sentenced this week by U.S. District Court Judge David C. Norton.

Eli Scrutchins

The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Carra Henderson of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office. Scrutchins is the 76th defendant convicted in federal court through the Solicitor’s Office partnerships, which affords our local prosecutors stiffer penalties for many gun and drug violations than are available under South Carolina law.

“This partnership between the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office and federal prosecutors adds an additional layer of protection against career criminals who target our communities,” said Solicitor Duffie Stone.

Evidence presented during the plea and sentencing hearings showed Scrutchins was on parole for armed robbery when he held-up the bank in Hardeeville. Scrutchins targeted banks up and down the East Coast based on location, demographics and proximity to interstate highways, prosecutors argued.

Scrutchins’ prior convictions in Michigan include armed robbery (1990); prisoner in possession of a weapon (1992); carjacking (1996); and prisoner in possession weapon second offense (2007).

Scutchins must serve the entirety of his 20-year sentence, as there is no parole in the federal system.