The mayor of Swansea pleaded not guilty Tuesday to allegations that he stole public money.
“While this has been difficult for me and my family, we have and continue to fully cooperate with (South Carolina Law Enforcement Division) and the Attorney General’s Office in this matter,” Mayor Jerald Sanders said in statement after the not guilty plea. “We look forward to the day when all the facts are released and the people can see the whole story. I am confident that, when that day comes, I will be cleared of these allegations and be able to put this whole ordeal behind us.”
Sanders is accused of embezzlement and misconduct in office, according to a Lexington County grand jury indictment.
The state Attorney General’s Office alleges Sanders had checks written to him from public funds without authorization around December 2019. The money was then deposited in an account under his sole control, the indictment said. If found guilty, Sanders faces up to five years in prison for embezzlement, plus a fine commensurate to the amount allegedly taken.
Sanders is represented by attorneys Bakari Sellers and Alexandra Benevento of the Strom Law Firm.
Swansea is a town of about 1,000 people in southeastern Lexington County.