Charlotte Couple Sentenced to Prison for Stealing from High School Booster Club

CHARLOTTE —  The former president of the South Mecklenburg High School athletic booster club and his wife were sentenced to prison Monday for stealing more than $239,000 from the organization. The husband was also sentenced for obtaining more than $236,000 in COVID-19 relief funds to cover up the theft, says Dena King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

In a news release, King announced that Anthony Sharper, 42, was sentenced to 30 months in prison. He was also ordered to pay a judgement of more than $310,000. His wife, Deana Sharper, 47, was ordered to serve 21 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $239,000.

According to filed court documents and today’s sentencing hearing between 2017 and June 2020, Anthony Sharper and Deana Sharper executed a scheme to defraud and embezzle the funds by writing checks to themselves for purported reimbursement, wiring funds directly to their personal bank account, and using the booster club’s debit cards and credit card to pay for personal expenditures. Court documents show that, Anthony Sharper, who is a certified public accountant, also committed tax fraud by failing to report any of the embezzled funds on the couple’s joint 2018 and 2019 tax returns filed with the IRS.

According to court records, to cover up the theft and to enrich himself, between March and May 2020, Anthony Sharper submitted three fraudulent applications for federal COVID-19 relief funds, including two fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications, one in the name of the booster club and one in the name of his accounting firm; and and an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) application to the Small Business Administration (SBA) on behalf of his CPA firm. All three applications contained false information, including fake revenues and fake payroll and employment data. As a result of the fraudulent applications,

Anthony Sharper obtained more than $236,000 in COVID-19 relief funds intended for existing businesses harmed by the coronavirus pandemic. After receiving the loan proceeds, Anthony Sharper used the funds to pay for personal expenditures and to cover up the couple’s theft of the booster club’s funds.

Anthony Sharper previously pleaded guilty to wire fraud, making a false statement to a financial institution, engaging in monetary transactions in criminally derived property, and tax fraud. Deana Sharper pleaded guilty to wire fraud. Both defendants were released on bond and will be ordered to report to the federal Bureau of Prisons to begin serving their sentence upon designation of a federal facility.