For now, a former S.C. Hospitality Association accountant who stole nearly $500,000 from her employer will not receive a reduced sentence in exchange for providing tips to police about other crimes.
U.S. District Judge Joseph Anderson on Thursday denied a request for a reduced sentence for Rachel Duncan, who was sentenced earlier this year to 30 months in prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud and filing a false tax return.
Duncan, 42, is serving time at Coleman Federal Correctional Institution, a medium-security prison in Coleman, Fla., in the central part of the state. Her scheduled release date is Dec. 6, 2014, according to the Bureau of Prisons website.
The request for a reduced sentence came in September from an unexpected source the assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted the case. Winston Holliday filed a motion asking Anderson to knock up to six months off Duncans sentence because she had provided tips that led to seven arrests in two counties.
The information provided by Duncan and her husband, James Duncan, led to two murder arrests in Lexington County and five methamphetamine arrests in Richland County, according to Hollidays motion.
In Andersons denial, he wrote that he rejected the motion because the other crimes had not worked their way through local courts. Anderson left the door open to consider a new request for a reduced sentence once the other cases are resolved.
Duncan admitted that she stole the Hospitality Associations money between 2006 and early 2012 by writing herself checks and making deposits from a credit card terminal to a secret bank account. Duncan transferred the stolen money to offshore accounts so she could place bets at an online casino based in Australia.
Duncan confessed to her boss, Tom Sponseller, in February that she was under investigation for the stolen money. Two days later, he shot and killed himself. But it took Columbia police 10 days to find his body in a room in the parking garage of his downtown office building. That botched investigation led to the dismissal of two high-ranking officers. Duncan testified that Sponseller had nothing to do with her theft.
Reach Phillips at (803) 771-8307.