Sterling granted parole

COLUMBIA — Former Carolina Investors chairman Jack Sterling has been released from prison after serving less than a quarter of a court ordered five-year term for securities fraud.

Sterling was released last week by the SC Parole and Pardons Board following a protracted and often contradictory prosecution attempt led by the then-State Attorney General Henry McMaster.

The 75-year-old former chairman of HomeGold Financial Inc. was convicted following the collapse of both HomeGold and its subsidiary Carolina Investors in what was described as one of the largest bankruptcies in the Palmetto State.

A close personal friend speaking on behalf of the family said while Sterling regrets the losses suffered by more than 12,000, “…Jack and his family were victims as well, losing more than $1 million.”

The HomeGold/Carolina Investors bubble burst under the leadership of Ronnie Sheppard, who is now serving a 20-year prison term and has been twice denied parole.

Sterling and prosecution witnesses repeated claims that he tried to save the companies but that most of the true details were hidden by Sheppard.

Sterling was actively involved in educational programs and personal development programs among inmates in the miinimum-security facilility where he served his time. He reportedly will remain under house arrest for six months.