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Government wants ex-SC State chairman to forfeit $350K

COLUMBIA (AP) — The former chairman of South Carolina State University’s board of trustees should forfeit about $350,000 following his conviction on public corruption charges, federal prosecutors said in court this week.

Local media outlets report that the federal government said at a hearing Wednesday that Jonathan Pinson illegally took that money while carrying out plans for a low-income Columbia housing development and the development of a Marion County diaper plant. They say he shouldn’t be allowed to keep money from illegal schemes.

Pinson was convicted in July on 29 counts including racketeering, kickbacks and money laundering but was acquitted on other counts that involved similar evidence. Authorities say that Pinson skimmed federal money going to both projects, and then filed false paperwork to get more money from the government.

Pinson’s attorneys say that he should pay far less, arguing that he didn’t make all the money the government says he did. Defense attorney Jim Griffin said Pinson is still due $245,000 in Housing and Urban Development funds for his role as the developer in the Columbia project.

A judge has asked both sides for letters outlining their positions on forfeiture amounts within a week.

Pinson faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced. He has appealed his conviction.

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