Former WCSC-TV Charleston, S.C., News Director Donald Feldman has pleaded guilty to three counts of mail fraud and admitted embezzling approximately $2.5 million from the station over a period of 12 years beginning in 1988.
He entered the plea in federal court in Charleston Tuesday. TV FAX reported last November that Feldman had been arrested by local police for using an $11,500 check to cover an American Express payment. The federal indictment, however, revealed a systematic pattern of abuses that stretched over a decade and added up to $2,469,450. Feldman created bogus items in the news department budget, submitted phony invoices, then issued checks that he altered and diverted to credit card companies to pay his bills. They included $271,000 toward Diners Club and $32,000 to American Express, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.
Feldman could be fined $750,000 and go to prison for 15 years, though given the guilty plea, the sentence will likely be much less than that. Feldman had been with the station for 15 years before his departure last year.
- John Eggerton