The South Carolina Supreme Court disbarred a former judge and attorney Monday for his role in helping a client hide millions in embezzled money.
Aiken attorney John Harte, Jr. is currently serving a 12-month prison sentence after his 2009 conviction for conspiracy. Harte, who was also a family court judge, pleaded guilty at the time to helping William Trier II hide some of the $5.2 million he stole over a ten-year period from vending machine manufacturer Dixie-Narco– now known as Crane Company.
Trier had been a logistics manager at the company before he was fired in 2007. When he learned federal investigators were after him, he approached Harte to ask how he could hide the stolen money, according to court testimony.
Harte then referred Trier to Columbia tax attorneys John Fitzgerald O’Connor and Michael Shavo.
Harte’s 2009 plea was part of a deal he made with prosecutors so they could use his testimony to go after O’Connor and Shavo, suspecting of planning the scheme. Those two would also later plead guilty.
Harte reported to prison in October 2010. He is scheduled to be released next month.
Trier is also serving a prison sentence after pleading guilty to embezzlement in 2008. He was also ordered to pay back $5.2 million in restitution and to forfeit assets worth millions of dollars.