SPARTANBURG -- A South Carolina bank executive, who also is a Wofford College trustee, faces federal charges that he laundered money from a cigarette smuggling ring.
The Herald-Journal of Spartanburg reported Saturday that 46-year-old Frederick Gibbs is the president and chief executive officer of Banc Capital & Financial Services Inc. and the registered agent of a Spartanburg realty fund. Gibbs is accused of four counts of money laundering.
Gibbs does not have a listed telephone number. His attorney did not return calls to his office and home seeking comment Saturday.
An indictment describing the charges facing Gibbs was unsealed this week the day before federal authorities announced busting a multi-year cigarette smuggling ring. Officials say nine South Carolina suspects purchased cigarettes in Virginia and illegally sold them in higher-tax South Carolina for millions of dollars.
Federal agents confiscated computer equipment, thumb drives, a mobile phone, a memory card, a laptop and financial documents from Gibbs’ offices on Wednesday, according to a search warrant filed in court. Law enforcement officers were looking for any evidence of trafficking in contraband cigarette and money laundering, the search warrant said.
On Thursday, prosecutors said agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives rounded up nine men in northwestern South Carolina they accused of buying untaxed cigarettes in Virginia and taking them to South Carolina for distribution.
Authorities said they had been investigating the ring for three years and that the suspects paid undercover officers about $20 million for untaxed cigarettes in that time. The suspects face charges ranging from conspiracy to trafficking in contraband cigarettes, money laundering and sale of stolen goods.
Gibbs was released on a $10,000 secured bond on Friday.
Gibbs graduated in 1987 from Wofford College, where he played football, with a degree in business economics. He has served on the college's board of trustees since 2006, according to college News Services Director Laura Corbin.
There is no provision for automatic removal of trustees in criminal cases, but the board could elect to remove Gibbs at a later date, Corbin said.
"It's premature for us to say at this juncture what the implications might be," she said. As of late Friday afternoon, Gibbs had not resigned from his position.
Gibbs, a Seneca native, also serves on the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare Foundation's board of directors.
Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System spokesman Chad Lawson said Gibbs remains on the foundation's board of trustees. Gibbs is completing his first, four-year term on the board, which expires at the end of this year. There is a provision in the bylaws governing the foundation that the majority of the board of trustees could vote to remove any trustee following an affirmative vote, Lawson said.