Former Aiken attorney John W. Harte, 64, was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Columbia to one year and one day imprisonment for money laundering and conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
Harte was also ordered to pay $482,000 in restitution and to forfeit certain assets.
Harte pleaded guilty in September, admitting to being involved in a conspiracy to liquidate and conceal money and property stolen by a former client, William J. Trier II, from his employer, Dixie Narco. Two other attorneys involved in the scheme, John Fitzgerald O’Connor Jr. and Michael D. Shavo, both of Columbia, have previously entered guilty pleas.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for South Carolina said Harte and O’Connor assisted Trier in laundering embezzled funds. Over 10 years, Trier collected about $5.2 million from the Crane Co., an Aiken County vending machine manufacturer, using phony invoices from fictitious companies. When Trier learned that he was under investigation, he contacted Harte to help him hide assets. According to Harte, he enlisted the help of O’Connor and others.
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Trier pled guilty to mail fraud and money laundering in April 2008, and was sentenced to 63 months of imprisonment, ordered to pay $5,272,556 in restitution, and to forfeit millions of dollars in assets.
-- From Staff Reports