A former tax preparer pleaded guilty Wednesday to multiple charges, including using financial information of some of his clients to withdraw money from their accounts, according to the 16th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.
Anthony Kennedy, 59, pleaded guilty to six counts of forgery under $5,000, four counts of financial identity fraud and two counts of shoplifting under $2,000. Circuit Court Judge Roger Couch sentenced Kennedy to seven years suspended to five years active time, followed by two years probation.
Assistant Solicitor Dan Porter said the probation might be terminated early if Kennedy pays back more than $3,200 in restitution to three banks.
Kennedy committed his financial crimes in July, August and September of last year, Porter said. He used checks that belonged to his brother, and financial information of several people for whom he had previously prepared taxes, and presented that information to various Rock Hill banks to take out $3,270 in transactions.
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Kennedy placed a piece of laminate over his own South Carolina ID and printed his victims’ information on that piece of laminate in order to carry out his fraud, Porter said. The ID appeared authentic under a cursory inspection, he said, but a closer look revealed something covering the ID and a different font used.
“He went through all of that and was arrested in late September on those charges,” Porter said.
The two shoplifting charges Kennedy pleaded guilty to stemmed from thefts at the York Walmart on May 11 and May 16. He was first charged with trying to steal steaks and other frozen meat from the store May 11 and was released on bond.
Five days later, Porter said, he went to the same store and took two rangefinder rifle scopes. He returned to the store just a few hours later.
“They found out he was in the store again that day after the rangefinders were stolen, and he was placed under arrest,” Porter said.
Kennedy has since been arrested for two more shoplifting incidents on June 6 and 7, and has two pending charges each for conspiracy and fraudulent checks. Porter said those pending cases were not brought up in court.
Kennedy and his brother made news last week after they were both arrested at the same time for separate shoplifting incidents. Both men remain incarcerated at the Moss Justice Center.
Teddy Kulmala • 803-329-4082