Sentinel Progress

Clemson finance director arrested

CLEMSON — The former finance director for the City of Clemson was arrested on embezzlement charges on Tuesday following an investigation by South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).

According to reports, Tom Alexander Sparacino, 61, is accused of spending $124,748 of the City’s money.

SLED stated Sparacino allegedly racked up the charges over a period of six years using the city of Clemson’s credit cards.

The balances on the cards were then paid using city funds, they said.

Clemson City Administrator Rick Cotton stated Sparacino was no longer with the city and had been suspended — without pay — in late February when another employee, who was not named, happened to notice the “suspicious charges” on Sparacino’s cards.

“The suspicious charges appeared to be personal in nature,” read the arrest warrant.

Once the city began to suspect something was wrong, Cotton said an independent accounting firm, Stancil Cooley Estep and Stamey, LLP out of Seneca, was contracted to run a complete audit of Sparacino and his city credit cards.

SLED met with Cotton on Feb. 28 after the employee’s suspicions of the wrongful credit card useage was confirmed.

Among other things, SLED stated Sparacino used the City of Clemson’s money to pay for vehicle repairs completed at Jaguar, Porsche and Volvo of Greenville for cars registered in Sparacino’s name. In addition, there was merchandise bought from, a device and iTunes purchases from Apple and monthly cellular service charges from both AT&T and Verizon Wireless providers.

SLED says the embezzlement happened between June 2011 and Feb. 2017.

Sparacino was charged with one count of Embezzlement of Public Funds, value $10,000 or more but was released from jail on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond.

The finance director retired on May 13 after being suspended. He had worked for the City of Clemson for 31 years.

Sparacino Courtesy photo

By Kasie Strickland

Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.