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      Two former building inspectors sentenced to prison

      Cosby (left), Fields (right)

      BEAUFORT, S.C. (WCIV) -- Two former Beaufort County building code inspectors were sentenced to prison on Thursday after they accepted bribes in 2012.

      Officials with the Fourteenth Judicial Court said Larry Fields, 63, of St. Helena and Harold Cosby, 67, of Shell Point, each pled guilty to one count of bribery.

      The solicitor's office recommended two years in prison and the defendants' attorneys requested probation. A judge sentenced both men to one year in prison.

      Officers were assigned to investigate the bribery claims in 2012. A building contractor informant agreed to give Fields $600 in building materials in advance of an electrical inspection in Belfair, according to a release.

      The same informant also met with Cosby, who was responsible for issuing permits, in the parking lot of the county offices. He gave Cosby $300 in cash and received a certificate of occupancy for a home, the release states.

      Both transactions were recorded.

      "By accepting the bribes, the employees violated the trust of the community and compromised the integrity of the building permitting and inspection process," said Assistant Solicitor Francine Norz, who prosecuted the case. "We expect these essential functions of government to be performed professionally, by the book and with no preferential treatment."

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