Statesville councilman sentenced in fraud case

An Iredell County judge has given Statesville Ward 3 Councilman Jarrod Phifer a six-month probationary sentence on charges of felony food stamp fraud and misdemeanor medical assistance fraud.

Under the terms of the sentence, issued Tuesday, Iredell County Superior Court Judge Christine Underwood required the first-term city councilman to perform community service and pay $6,389 in restitution.

According to Joy Beall of the Iredell County Court Clerk’s Office, Phifer will be required to appear again in court on June 1, and if he has met all the conditions set by the judge, the charges against him will be dismissed.

Phifer, 28, who was elected to the council in 2013, could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Statesville Mayor Costi Kutteh declined to comment about the sentence handed down to Phifer.

Kutteh previously said that neither city nor state law gave the council “any authority to censure, reprimand or terminate the services of any of the elected officials.” The city’s spokeswoman said Thursday that city officials were reviewing new information that might change their position.