Cromartie Sentenced to 1 Year, 1 Day in Jail

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) – Former Columbia City Councilman E.W. Cromartie was sentenced Friday to one year and one day in prison after pleading guilty to federal tax evasion.

65 year old E.W. Cromartie, known for his boldness on Columbia City Council, humbled himself before a judge Friday. Cromartie apologized for not paying his taxes, hiding money from the Internal Revenue Service, and lying to investigators. Cromartie’s attorney, I.S. Leevy Johnson says, “He (Cromartie) is disappointed with his own conduct and the consequences of his actions.”

Judge David Norton sentenced Cromartie to one year and one day in jail for three counts of federal tax evasion. Investigators say Cromartie failed to pay at least $25,000 in taxes, and then made small deposits and withdrawals from his bank account to hide the fact that he had enough money to pay the taxes.

Prosecutor Mark Moore with the U.S. Attorney’s Office says, “A crime is a crime, and he committed a crime, and we believed it was important for him to go to jail. We believe that sends a message…no matter who you are, if you commit a crime, you should be punished.” Moore says Cromartie will likely serve ten and a half months in jail. Once he gets out, he will be supervised by the court for three years and have to pay $58,000 in back taxes.

Cromartie’s supporters showed up in court by the dozens. Former Columbia Mayor Bob Coble told the judge Cromartie transformed communities and always did what was best for Columbia during his 27 years on city council. Others, including Cromartie’s 95-year old constituent Elise Martin, said that perhaps the former councilman spent so time helping others that he neglected his personal finances. Martin says, “He (Cromartie) made it possible for us (his constituents) to call him at any time. He had a hotline, and you could call him anytime of the day or night. He couldn’t be replaced.”

Judge Norton said Cromartie has done more good than bad, but that tax evasion was a “terrible thing.”

Cromartie has not been given an exact date to report to prison. His attorney anticipates he will go to jail sometime after the new year. Cromartie’s lawyer also requested that he go to Salters Federal Prison in Williamsburg County.