Across South Carolina

Dealers at poker game facing tough penalties

CHARLESTON --- Unlike the more than 50 people accused of gambling after police raided a Charleston-area poker game, the seven people accused of dealing the cards at those games face more serious charges and tougher penalties if they are convicted.

Sheriff Al Cannon told The (Charleston) Post and Courier that South Carolina still treats dealing as a misdemeanor, but a person convicted of the crime could spend as much as a year in jail and be fined $2,000 for each count.

Investigators have said the dealers earned $1,300 a night to deal to high-stakes players in what was described as a sophisticated gambling ring that included other games of chance.

The accused players will face a magistrate Monday on charges of gambling, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail or a $100 fine for each count, prosecutors said.

Man renounces U.S. citizenship in crime

GREENVILLE --- A former financial planner renounced his U.S. citizenship as he was being sentenced by a federal judge for tax evasion involving more than $2 million.

Charles Edward Atwell, of Easley, told a federal judge Friday that he didn't pay his taxes because he is a citizen of the "country of South Carolina" not the United States.

Mr. Atwell, 57, was sentenced to the maximum of four years and three months in prison by U.S. District Judge Henry Herlong, The Greenville News reported Saturday.

Wife of sofa store fire victim sues over death

CHARLESTON --- The widow of one of a Charleston firefighter killed in last year's Sofa Super Store blaze has sued the store, several furniture makers and other businesses, saying they were negligent in her husband's death.

Attorneys for Heather Baity filed the lawsuit Friday. Her husband, Brad, died along with eight other firefighters on June 18 in the fire at the furniture store, the nation's greatest loss of firefighters since the attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

The families of two other firefighters filed similar wrongful-death lawsuits last year and an attorney representing two other families says he is preparing lawsuits on behalf of his clients.

-- Associated Press