Crime & Courts

Judge sentences local accountant to prison

U.S. District Judge Joe Anderson sentenced a Columbia accountant to 52 months in federal prison Tuesday for mail fraud in connection with an elderly couple who were swindled out of most of their $800,000 life savings.

Anderson’s sentence for Daniel Monahan, 49, exceeded the government’s recommendation of 48 months for what was described as a white-collar crime committed by a man with no prior state or federal convictions.

The state Accountancy Board in 2000, however, revoked Monahan’s certified public accountant’s license after it determined he had taken $29,000 from a local civic club.

Extensive testimony at Tuesday’s sentencing hearing in Columbia focused on Monahan’s chronic gambling addiction. Anderson also heard testimony describing how Monahan had ruined the financial and physical health of his elderly victims.

In sentencing Monahan to prison, Anderson said he wanted to protect the public from Monahan and to send a message that white collar criminals don’t just get "a slap on the wrist."

Monahan pleaded guilty in June, but sentencing was delayed until today. He has paid some of the money back. Prosecutors put the amount of money still missing at more than $500,000. Monahan is responsible for paying some of that back.