More than $800,000 was allegedly stolen from the Berkeley County (S.C.) school system.

Former finance officer in South Carolina district charged with embezzling $800,000 in school funds

Dec. 8, 2017
Brantley Thomas, who resigned in February from the Berkeley County (S.C.) district, faces numerous state and federal charges.

The former chief financial officer of the Berkeley County (S.C.) School District faces multiple federal and state charges in connection with the alleged theft of more than $800,000 

The Charleston Post and Courier reports that Brantley D. Thomas III, 61, has been indicted on 20 counts by a federal grand jury and 15 counts by a state grand jury

Thomas was fired from his job in February after evidence of financial improprieties surfaced.

The federal indictments charge Thomas with one count of fraud and embezzlement from a federally funded program, nine counts of money laundering and 10 counts of wire fraud, which involved receiving kickbacks for awarding insurance policy contracts to specific companies.

He is accused of overpaying vendors through school district accounts, and when the vendors issued a refund, he would convert the money — about $450,000 in total — to his own use.

"Thomas would then use stolen money to pay for personal expenses such as a membership at a private club and for foreign travel," the federal indictment says.

The state indictments charge Thomas with 14 counts of embezzlement and one count of forgery and describe a similar method of stealing funds.

When Thomas was fired on Feb. 7, district officials said that Thomas, whose annual salary was $130,050, converted 10 refund checks worth  $382,252 to cashiers’ checks and deposited them into his own account starting in July 2012. District officials said at the time that they were concerned Thomas might have stolen more.

After the indictments were announced, Berkeley County School Board Chairwoman Sally Wofford said the board is “deeply disheartened that a longtime employee took advantage of his position to defraud taxpayers and our children for decades.”

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