COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – The fourth person involved in an alleged criminal conspiracy to steal nearly a half-a-million dollars in public funds pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court.

Terry McBride accepted responsibility for his role in the scheme authorities claim centered around former Muscogee County Deputy Superior Court Clerk Willie Demps.

Terry McBride admitted to U.S. District Court Judge Clay Land that he cashed nearly $300,000 in fraudulent checks that authorities say were stolen from Superior and State Court clerk’s office accounts.

The Smiths Station man confirmed to the court that he would take stolen checks from Demps and cash them at local banks while Demps waited in the parking lot.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Mel Hyde, McBride cashed 38 checks over 10 months in 2019, McBride admitted to cashing $299,285 in fraudulent checks on government accounts. As part of the plea, McBride must pay that money back.

Between March 21 and November 26, McBride cashed checks ranging from $2,438 to $9,725. The bulk of the checks McBride cashed were at Synovus branches.

Demps kept the bulk of the ill-gotten cash and the check-cashers got a small payment, the U.S. attorneys claim.

McBride would say he was a bail bondsman and entitled to the money, though he was not a bail bondsman and not entitled to the money.

Here’s what his attorney Jennifer Curry had to say after the hearing when News 3 asked if McBride was cooperating with federal authorities.

“He accepted responsibility for his involvement in this conspiracy,” Curry answered.

Demps is the only person charged in the scheme who remains in custody. He is also the only one who was a public employee.

In addition to McBride, Lamarcus Palmer, George Cook and Samuel Cole have all pleaded guilty and face up to 30 years in prison and a fine up to $1 million. Land will sentence them in February.

Curtis Porch, Dereen Porch, Rosalee Bassi, and Demps have not entered pleas.

To follow this case, read the previous digital publications listed below:

Aug. 18, 2021Exclusive: Former Muscogee County Superior Court employee, and others under federal indictment accused of stealing public funds

Aug. 19, 2021Willie Demps appears in federal court to face charges that he stole nearly $500,000 in Muscogee County court funds

Aug. 24, 2021Two men accused of stealing nearly $500,000 in Muscogee County public funds get court-appointed attorneys

Aug. 25, 2021Court testimony: Former Muscogee County deputy clerk was wiring large sums of money to Africa

Sept. 21, 2021: First guilty plea comes out of federal case where former deputy court clerk, others accused of stealing $467,000 in public funds

Oct. 5, 2021: Circle tightens on Willie Demps in Muscogee County federal fraud case as two more codefendants plead guilty