HARTSVILLE, SC (WMBF) The Hartsville store owner arrested by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, suspected of insurance fraud, has been found guilty of all charges against her, according to Thom Berry with SLED.
Claudette Hulsey, owner of Jack Be Nimble Children's Boutique was found guilty of Burning to Defraud an Insurer, Presenting False Claims for Payment, Filing a False Police Report of Felony Violation, for which she is sentenced to 18 months of prison per count, to run concurrently. She was also charged with Arson in the Third Degree, and sentenced to five years of prison, reduced to 18 months to run concurrently with the 18 months of the other charges. She will receive 18 months of probation after jail for the fourth charge.
In total, she will serve an 18 month prison sentence and complete 18 months of probation after her prison-time.
Hulsey heard first responders recount details of the January night in 2011, when they were called to a robbery at her store.
Officers say they found Hulsey, lying on the floor partially clothed, while the store was engulfed in flames.
According to a release from SLED, Claudette Hulsey of Hartsville was charged with arson/burning personal property to defraud insurer, presenting a false claim for insurance payment, making a false insurance claim to obtain benefits for fire loss, filing a false police report of a felony violation and arson in the third degree.
[To view the arrest warrants from SLED, click each charge (PDF)]
On January 26, 2011, both Hartsville Police and Hartsville Fire units responded to the Jack Be Nimble children's clothing boutique located at 140 E. Carolina Ave. after a 911 call for help.
Upon arrival, officers found Hulsey on the floor with the store on fire.
Officers said in January, 2011 two black males allegedly entered the store after dark and proceeded to assault and rob Hulsey before setting the store on fire. A reward of up to $25,000 was offered by the Hartsville Chamber of Commerce for any information leading to an arrest of those responsible for the crime.
In February, SLED sketch artists released sketches of three men reportedly listed as possible witnesses to the crime, and urged members of the public to come forward with any information as to their identities.
Those men never existed.
Members of the Hartsville community came together in support of Hulsey following the incident. On February 3, 2011, The Church in Hartsville posted a video on YouTube of a prayer chain held in honor of Hulsey and Jack B. Nimble.
Lines of people swarmed up and down E. Carolina Ave. to pray and show their support in other ways and almost 5,000 views have been made on the video so far.
Thursday, Mayor Mel Pennington spoke exclusively with WMBF News. "Together we're going to move forward. That's what I love about Hartsville, this community's ability to bounce back," he said.
Pennington issued the following statement:
I don't want to dwell on this crime; I believe it has received enough attention. I would like to remind our citizens that this matter will be settled in court. It is not for us to judge, to condemn or condone. Of course the City of Hartsville would like to thank SLED, the Sheriff's Office, the Hartsville Police Department, the tireless efforts of all the local, and national, law enforcement agencies involved. Our thoughts are with all those affected. Despite the shock or the anger, these events did succeed in helping to unite a community. What we witnessed earlier this year was an outpouring of love, people banding together in their resolve to make our streets safer, and that is a good thing. That is something to be proud of. My hope is that we will continue to hold on to that recommitment to our city because the only way we can move forward is together
Stay with WMBF News and WMBFNews.com as we continue to work with officials to learn all the new developments in the trial.