Former Manning Police Chief Gary Blair Shaffer was sentenced yesterday by a federal judge to a year and a day in prison for stealing $80,000 in confiscated drug money. The hearing lasted an hour where Shaffer's public defender argued for probation due to his recent bout with COVID-19. His lawyer argued that Shaffer may contract it again.
However, these concerns were shut down by Assistant U.S. attorney Brook Andrews, who mentioned that in the United States there have only been two confirmed cases of re-infection.
Shaffer pleaded guilty in 2019 to theft of government funds and lying to an FBI agent. The charges carry a maximum 10-year and 5-year sentence, respectfully. Hendricks gave Shaffer the lighter sentance citing a previously clean criminal record, and a good record as a police officer in the town of Manning. He also cited that Shaffer was "unlikely to commit another crime, has accepted responsibility, has (nearly) paid back the $80,000, and poses no threat."
Groeber believed the fact that Shaffer had paid back the money warranted more mercy from the Judge, however Andrews believed that the prison sentance would "send a message."
"He violated the public trust, he violated the rule of law, and he violated his obligations," said Andrews.
Shaffer had stolen money out of the drug fund in 70 different transactions over only three months. Instead of confessing when contacted by the FBI, Shaffer created an elaborate lie. This is another reason why Andrews pushed for prison time.
Shaffer then spoke to the judge, and apologized directly to the Town of Manning, saying he stole the money for a medical issue, but was still "sorry about what I had done."
The judge noted this remorse, as well as words from Shaffer's wife, asking for mercy. However, just before giving the sentence, the judge quoted; "I have to do my job."