Counsel Gets Probation for Role in Fraud Scheme

     (CN) – Former South Carolina State University counsel Edwin Givens was sentenced to six months probation today for his roll in a kickback scheme related to a 2011 homecoming concert.
     Givens, 51, pleaded guilty on May 13 to misprision of a felony for not reporting the scheme. S.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal then immediately suspended his law license.
     His sentence of probation, which U.S. District Judge David Norton said is effective from the day Givens pleaded guilty, came at the urging of prosecutors who told the judge the former university counsel had provided them with substantial assistance in a related case, United States v. Jonathon Pinson.
     In that case, federal prosecutors alleged that Jonathon Pinson, who was chairman of the S.C. State board of trustees at the time, conspired with co-defendant Eric Robinson, owner of WE Entertainment, to secure Robinson’s concert promotion company to oversee homecoming weekend events.
     Robinson has since been acquitted of any wrongdoing, but a jury found Pinson guilty of 29 counts of wrongdoing, including theft, money laundering, extortion and bribery. In August, Judge Norton denied Pinson’s motion for a new trial. He is still awaiting sentencing.
     Givens testified during Pinson’s June trial as part of his plea agreement.
     During his testimony it was revealed the university spent about $250,000 on the homecoming concert, but took in only about $70,000. Givens said he was initially promised $2,000 for his participation in the scheme, but was ultimately given only $500 after the show brought in so little money.
     He also said he felt guilty about receiving the money and later donated it to a university foundation.
     Givens was fired in February 2012 with eight other employees after an internal investigation by the university.
     He is represented by former U.S. Attorney Bart Daniel of Charleston.

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