Ex-SC State board chairman sentenced to 5 years in prison

Jonathan Pinson, former chairman of the South Carolina State University’s Board of Trustees is shown in this June 2010 file photo. File/Brad Nettles/Staff

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The former board chairman of South Carolina State University in Orangeburg has been sentenced to five years in prison for his role in a kickback and corruption scheme.

U.S. District Judge David Norton on Wednesday also fined Jonathan Pinson more than $337,000. The Greenville businessman was convicted last year on 29 counts, including racketeering and money laundering.

Authorities say he skimmed federal money from projects, then falsified paperwork to get more funds.

Pinson tearfully begged Norton for leniency, asking that he not be condemned for what he called “a brief, dark period.”

Prosecutors said Pinson abused his position of public trust for personal benefit.

Pinson is appealing his conviction. He has 14 days to appeal the sentence.

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