book in photo/Allen Wigington
On Thursday morning, May 27, former Pickens County Magistrate Judge Allen Wigington received a 15-year sentence, to serve five of those years incarcerated and the remaining 10 years on probation. In addition, Wigington was ordered to pay just over $17,000 in restitution.
The sentence hearing, which was attended by a handful of family members, friends, and other members of the public interested in the case, came about a month after Wigington pled guilty to financial crimes charges that date back to 2016. In total, Wigington pled guilty to 44 felonies and five misdemeanors.
The case involves improper use of a county-issued credit card and resulted in charges, most of which Wigingon has pled guilty to, that ranged from theft-by-taking, to racketeering, to financial card fraud, and violating oath of office. The vast majority of the counts involve personal and household items that were purchased with the county card through Amazon and other stores, as well as several for charges for hotel rooms and food. Many of the items were recovered from Wigington’s residence when the GBI executed a search warrant last year.
During the Thursday sentencing, the state called one witness from the Blaine Lodge where Wigington served in many leadership roles and stole over $2,000 from the non-profit. The defense called several witnesses who spoke on behalf of the former judge’s contributions to the community during his more than two decades in county government.
Wigington made a statement in which he acknowledged his guilt, apologized, and asked for mercy from the court.
“I’m so very, very, very sorry,” he said. “My actions have caused great trouble for family, friends, and this community…I can not apologize enough. I’m sorry I let you down.”
Wiginton was allowed to say goodbye to family members in the courtroom, including wife Rosemary Wigington, before he was taken into custody and escorted out by bailiffs.
See full coverage of the sentence hearing in next week’s edition of the Progress.