South Carolina U.S. Attorney Sherri A. Lydon announced Thursday morning that Nicole Holland, 50, the former director of communications for the Fifth Circuit Solicitor’s Office, was sentenced to three years probation after pleading guilty earlier this year to federal wire and mail fraud charges. In a press release, Lydon said Senior U.S. District Court Judge Cameron McGowan Currie presided over the sentencing and ordered Holland to pay $11,164.60 in restitution to the solicitor’s office.
Facts presented in court established that from 2001 to March 2018, Holland was employed by former Fifth Circuit Solicitor Dan Johnson, who recently pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud charges. Johnson’s sentencing in federal court is set for June 4. While employed by Johnson, Holland used solicitor’s office funds to pay for personal expenses.
Acocrding to the press release, Holland used a solicitor’s office credit card issued to her for office-related expenses to make the following unauthorized purchases:
• In May 2017, various hotel stays at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Hopkinsville, Ky., totaling more than $2,700. These charges correlate to a specific county in an indictment handed down in 2018 by a federal grand jury for wire fraud connected to an Aug. 7, 2017, payment covering these personal expenses.
• In March 2017, a $1,020 expense for a family member’s orthodontics treatment that Holland labeled as “tournament sponsorship.” This charge correlates to another count of the indictment -- the mailing of a Bank of America statement ending on March 8, 2017, which contained this expense.
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and S.C. State Law Enforcement Division investigated the case. Assistant U.S. attorneys Winston D. Holliday Jr., Alyssa L. Richardson and William C. Lewis of the Columbia office prosecuted the case.