A former Beaufort County official pleaded guilty Thursday to illegally diverting federal money, in the latest of several court appearances for her.
Prosecutors say when she was clerk of court, Elizabeth Smith illegally used federal money in 2006 to pay for the salary of her husband, who was on her staff at the time. The federal money was required by law to cover child support and not to pay for salaries.
Manning Smith, Elizabeth’s husband, once ran the county’s drug courts as a volunteer judge. Authorities say Mrs. Smith diverted more than $68,000 into a personal account of which she had some control. Manning Smith has not been charged.
The US Attorneys Office said Smith plead guilty in federal court Thursday to illegally converting the money. The maximum penalty she could receive is a $250,000 fine and/or ten years in prison. Since the crime is a felony, Smith will also not be able to serve as an elected official again.
She was found guilty in state court last year for embezzling more than $23,000 to pay for her sister’s insurance premiums and to help make payments for a vacation home worth almost $1 million.