PACOLET, S.C. (WSPA) – A Spartanburg County man pled guilty to embezzling over $500,000 from an Upstate town.

Callis Anderson Jr., a contractor, was arrested by South Carolina Law Enforcement Division for defrauding the Town of Pacolet by embezzling money from a renovation project.

The project was to renovate an old mill building into a senior center.

Anderson Jr. was contracted between 2014-2016 to work on the renovation, according to officials.

“That dream was stolen from the town by this greedy person, Mr. Anderson,” Pacolet Town Administrator Patrick Kay said. “It will never be what was originally dream up for the town.”

The judge ordered Anderson Jr. to pay $115,000 in restitution. He is also under probation and will face jail time if he violates it.

The Mayor, Ned Camby, said he’s glad Anderson is being held accountable for his actions, even if the town is not getting the full amount back.

From the Attorney General’s Office:

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announces that the contractor charged in one of the largest frauds against a small town in South Carolina in years has pleaded guilty and been ordered to pay restitution of $115,000.

Callis J. Anderson, Jr., 68, pleaded guilty to Breach of Trust, Obtaining money or property Under False Pretenses, and Embezzlement felony charges in front of acting Circuit Judge Daniel Martin on Monday afternoon.

On Tuesday afternoon, Anderson provided $60,000 of the restitution immediately and was sentenced to two 10-year sentences and a one-year sentence, with all sentences suspended to five years of probation, provided the balance of the restitution is paid.

Attorney General Alan Wilson, who assigned prosecutors from his office to handle the case, emphasized the importance of prosecutions such as this one. “Contractor and other white-collar fraud can be every bit as devastating as losses from other types of crimes. For small towns, the outcome is especially devastating because they have less public money and are disproportionally hurt by these schemes,” Wilson said.

The case began in 2014 when the town of Pacolet had a dream to build a Senior Center, which they planned to do by transforming an old mill building Milliken had gifted the town. The town obtained gifts and grants to secure funding for the project and then hired Anderson to oversee the largest and final portion of the project, the transformation of part of the Mill’s old cloth room into a senior activity center, complete with a commercial kitchen so healthy meals could be prepared at the center.

The state alleged, and Anderson pleaded guilty to, taking money that was to be for the kitchen and other portions of the project and stealing it. Because of Anderson’s theft, the town ran short of money and had to take out a loan, which was supposed to be sufficient to complete it. Anderson embezzled a portion of that money as well and never completed the project, resulting in the town being in debt and having to repay grants and loans without getting the desired recreation center. 

Reached for comment, Pacolet Mayor Ned Camby indicated “Today was a great day. Callis Anderson—the man who stole the town of Pacolet’s hopes and dreams of a beautiful, welcoming, and special place for all its citizens, but especially its senior citizens, to get together and play, eat, and socialize, has been held accountable for what he did to our town.”

The case was investigated by South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Special Agents Jacob Pridgen and Todd Ruffner and South Carolina Attorney General Investigator Valerie Williams and prosecuted by Deputy Attorney General Donald Zelenka and Special Assistant Attorney Generals Tracy Meyers and John Meadors. Mr. Anderson was represented by attorneys Rick Vieth, Jennifer Wells, David Collins, and Stephen Denton, all of Spartanburg.