Last week, the sentencing of Albert Salmon, the infamous self-proclaimed street preacher who exploited Charleston's homeless for hundreds of thousands of dollars of personal income, sent the message that Hammond's new targets for ramped-up enforcement efforts by his office will be those who abuse the goodwill and trust of charitable South Carolinians.
Salmon was convicted after a five-day trial last week on four tax evasion charges for not reporting more than $465,000 in income during tax years 1999-2002. Prosecutors contend while he was running the charity he also was a slumlord with extensive properties rented to the poor. One inspector found men living in partitioned trailers, a garage and a storage shed.
Salmon on Thursday also pleaded to other charges outstanding in the case, including under-reporting his compensation as head of the mission. Secretary of State Mark Hammond was in the courtroom and said the integrity of those records was vital for anyone inspecting the behavior of local charities.
Salmon's total sentence for all the charges included: a year in prison, four years of probation and 500 hours of community service. He also will have to pay back about $27,000 of the $93,000 prosecutors said it cost to pursue the case. State and federal investigators also can pursue civilly the tax debt Salmon failed to pay. About $36,000 is owed to the state and $157,000 to the federal government in tax debts, according to preliminary estimates.
(S)et a precedent and let it be know that we're not going to let people take advatage of the generosity of the people of South Carolina. We'll be watching and when others step out of line, they can expect that we'll be there.
Not surprisingly, Wonder Woman - a.k.a. "Handcuffs Harrington", the Blogland's favorite judge, cracked the golden lasso of justice on the slimebag swiftly, guiding the jury trial to a verdict in five days.
Our hats are off to Hammond for his efforts, as well as to Harrington for her swift administration of justice in this case. Let's hope others who seek to pull future charity scams or use His name for their personal gain take notice of this case.