Mark Hammond's working for the clampdown

South Carolina's Dirty Harry, Secretary of State Mark Hammond, is working for a tough clampdown on those who abuse the trust of South Carolinians. While his initial efforts focused on a statewide sweep of counterfeit merchandise hustlers, working with local law enforcement agencies to make arrests and close fradulent retailers, he's not content to just focus on this problem.

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.

When the Blogland talked with Hammond late last week, he told us that this was a cooperative effort with the Department of Revenue and other law enforcement agencies. While his office initiated the investigation, they were unable to pursue it alone, in part due to the limited staff and resources allocated to his office. He intended for this case, which was the first of its kind pursued by his office, to:

(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.

8 Response to "Mark Hammond's working for the clampdown"

  1. moye graham 20/1/09 22:42
    That Hammond is one tough guy and a class act. We need for him to run for Attorney General next time around.
  2. Anonymous 20/1/09 23:05
    Mark Hammond may be tough, but Harrington is tougher and she's smoking hot too!
  3. Anonymous 20/1/09 23:38
    One of the requirements is that you have to be an attorney to run for Attorney General. Mark is efficient at what he does but is not qualified to run for Attorney General.
  4. Anonymous 20/1/09 23:51
    As tough and classy as Mark is, wouldn't he have to be an attorney to be Attorney General?
  5. Anonymous 21/1/09 00:54
    If he's got a Master's degree, then law school should be easy for him, especially since he was a county clerk of court and probation officer.
  6. Greeleyville MG 21/1/09 12:46
    Somebody check do you have to be an attorney to be Attorney General of SC. I doubt it not sure. Anyway most of the dudes in the House and Senate would want you to be an Attorney to be one of them.
  7. Anonymous 22/1/09 09:45

    I try not to emulate Congressman Clyburn but one thing I did learn from one of his commercials is that if you expect someone else to do something it won't get done - look it up yourself. You do have to be an attorney to be ATTORNEY General. Law School may well be easy for Mr. Hammond but it doesn't necessarily follow that because he was Clerk of Court or probation officer that it would thus be easier. The Clerk of Court is more of an administrative office. Their responsibility is solely to record documents that meet the requirements to be recorded. They are not allowed to interpret those documents.
  8. wish i was in costa rica mg 25/1/09 10:26
    anybody that will even sit through a Clyburn commercial has me second guessing

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