Ex-Cherokee County deputy arraigned on federal corruption charges
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- A former Cherokee County sheriff's deputy has been arraigned on federal corruption charges.
Michael Todd Parker, 35, has been charged with converting property for his own use and interfering with commerce by threat of violence, the Herald-Journal of Spartanburg reported.
Parker pleaded not guilty at Wednesday's hearing.
Sheriff Steve Mueller says Parker is accused of acquiring electronic gambling machines and selling them for personal gain, rather than turning them in as contraband.
Mueller says allegations of Parker's misconduct came when Gaffney police investigated a burglary at a store and found video poker machines in the business. Mueller says the owners told officers they had bought the machines from Parker.
Parker was fired for conduct unbecoming an officer in August, Mueller said. That was just before Parker was interviewed by the State Law Enforcement Division. He had been with the sheriff's office 14 years.
"We are not going to tolerate employees who will put themselves on the other side of the law," the sheriff said.
A federal public defender would not talk about the case Wednesday.
The two charges carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, according to Beth Drake, a U.S. Department of Justice spokeswoman.
Information from: Herald-Journal, http://www.goupstate.com/