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Sumter County man sentenced for defrauding nonprofit

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Rodney Ellis, 71, of Sumter, has been sentenced to nearly three years in federal prison after pleading guilty to defrauding a Sumter County nonprofit. 

While serving as the financial officer for Sumter Behavioral Health Services, Ellis defrauded the organization out of more than $800,000 over eight years, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. His scheme was to divert funds from SBHS bank accounts to his own personal bank accounts. 

Ellis has been sentenced to 33 months in federal prison followed by three years of court-ordered supervision, according to a news release. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $812,259.07. There is no parole in the federal system. 

“By stealing from an organization that serves those suffering from substance abuse, Ellis took from those he should have been protecting,” said U.S. Attorney Adair F. Boroughs. “This case shows that financial crimes are not victimless, and often do the most harm to those who need help the most. This office will continue to aggressively prosecute fraud, and we appreciate the efforts of all state and federal agencies involved in this case.” 

The case was investigated by the FBI and the Sumter County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Bower prosecuted the case.
“I am grateful to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their efforts in bringing Rodney Ellis to justice,” said Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis. “Ellis betrayed the trust of not only members of the Sumter Behavioral Health office, but the citizens of Sumter County.” 

Reach Christina Lee Knauss at 803-753-4327.

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