South Carolina

FBI arrests fired SC police chief charged with money laundering, stealing funds, lying

The former Manning police chief appeared in the federal court in Charleston, said FBI spokesman Don Wood.
The former Manning police chief appeared in the federal court in Charleston, said FBI spokesman Don Wood. AP

Gary Blair Shaffer stole $78,514 from the City of Manning while he was the chief of police of Manning, South Carolina, according to a federal indictment.

Federal agents arrested Shaffer at his home Monday morning, the FBI told The State. He was charged with theft of federal funds, money laundering, structuring and false statement, according to a federal indictment.

Shaffer was fired as Manning police chief in July 2018, according to the Sumter Item.

From September to November 2015, according to the indictment, Shaffer acquired from Manning the “proceeds of specified unlawful activity, to wit: distribution of controlled substances.”

He then deposited that money into multiple accounts that belonged to him and his wife, per the indictment. Shaffer “unlawfully and knowingly” made sure each deposit was less than $10,000 to avoid federal oversights, the indictment reported. The indictment lists the dates and amounts of the deposits.

When the FBI questioned the former police chief in December 2016 and February 2017, he lied to the agents, the indictment says, because Shaffer knew “he stole money from the Manning Police Department.”

FBI spokesman Don Wood told The State that Shaffer appeared in federal court in Charleston Monday. At his arraignment, Shaffer pleaded not guilty.

Shaffer was released on a $25,000 secured bond, reported John Monk of The State. The federal judge appointed public defender Cody Groeber to represent the former police chief.

In a July statement, Manning Mayor Julia Nelson said Shaffer’s termination came after officials evaluated the chief’s department and programs, according to the Sumter Item.

“While this decision was a difficult one, the committee believes that it is in the best interests of the city to seek new leadership to fill this important role,” Nelson said in the statement, according to the Item, adding that the city would not comment further on a personnel issue.

In a later story, the Sumter Item reported, the former chief “cited personal retaliation by Manning Mayor Julia Nelson and an effort by city officials to stop him from following state law as the main reasons he was fired.” But in August, the “Manning City Council voted to uphold Shaffer’s termination,” according to the newspaper.

Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.
Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.