Four men linked to a public corruption scandal involving officials from South Carolina’s only public historically-black college were able to avoid jail time as their sentence was handed down Tuesday.
Federal prosecutors said each of the individuals cooperated with investigators and helped them to eventually convict former South Carolina State University board of trustees chairman Jonathan Pinson last year. Pinson was convicted on 29 counts last summer and sentenced to five years in prison. He is appealing the conviction, however, and remains free for now.
Three of the men sentenced on Tuesday were sentenced to three months in a “halfway house” and three years probation. They included former school trustee 49-year-old Lancelot “Lance” Wright and his ex-business partners 57-year-old Robert “Tony” Williams and 46-year-old Phillip Mims. The three had each pleaded guilty on one count of conspiring to steal and convert public funds and another count of mail fraud. They must also pay nearly $994,000 in restitution and a $200 “assessment.”
The fourth individual, former SC State police chief 51-year-old Michael Bartley, pleaded guilty to one count of misusing his influence as chief. He was sentenced to three years probation and 100 hours of community service. He must also pay a $100 assessment.