Beaufort News

Former clerk to be sentenced next week in federal court

Former Beaufort County Clerk of Court Elizabeth Smith is expected to be sentenced next week for misusing federal child-support funds, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Smith, 45, is expected to appear Sept. 22 in Charleston before U.S. District Judge Sol Blatt after agreeing in March to plead guilty to one count of conversion of public money.

Smith was charged by the U.S. Attorney's Office in September 2010 with writing five unauthorized checks worth $338,500 in federal child-support funds to pay her husband's salary while he oversaw the Beaufort County Drug Court between January 2006 and June 2009, according to federal court records.

Blatt accepted Smith's plea in April.

Prosecutor Winston Holliday said he has reviewed the pre-sentencing report from the U.S. Probation Office and likely will recommend that Smith serve prison time. Holliday declined to specify the sentence he plans to recommend to Blatt at next week's hearing.

The charge carries a penalty of as many as 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to federal law.

Smith also is serving five years of probation after being convicted by a Beaufort County jury in September 2010 of embezzlement of public funds and misconduct in office for writing checks worth $23,500 from public accounts to help pay for insurance premiums for relatives and a vacation home on Pawleys Island.

The federal indictment against Smith was handed down the day after Smith was found guilty in state court.

Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at

Related content

  1. Federal prosecutors to recommend jail time for former clerk of court, July 23, 2011
  2. Former court clerk pleads guilty to federal misuse-of-funds charge, March 2, 2011
  3. Ex.-court clerk Smith to be arraigned in federal court Oct. 27, Sept. 23, 2011