Former clerk of court indicted on federal charges

COLUMBIA, SC (WTOC) – A former Beaufort County clerk of court was indicted on federal charges.

The indictment comes one day after Elizabeth Smith, 47, of Beaufort, was found guilty of misconduct in office and embezzling more than $23,000 from two public accounts in the clerk's office. South Carolina Solicitor Duffie Stone called for the investigation against Smith and turned over the evidence against her to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

United States Attorney Bill Nettles announced Wednesday that Smith was charged in a one-count indictment with unlawful conversion of public funds.

In January 2006, Smith diverted at least $68,500 in federal child support money to pay the judicial salary of a family member working for the Beaufort County Drug Court, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Using these funds for judicial and staff compensation and office-related costs is prohibited by federal regulations. As the Beaufort County clerk of court, Smith had control over this money, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Smith could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

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