Attorney General Alan Wilson Announces Public Corruption Indictments

(COLUMBIA, SC) – December 7, 2017 South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced today that the South Carolina State Grand Jury has issued indictments related to allegations of corruption at the Berkeley County School District [BCSD].

The first indictment was issued October 17, 2017 ; another separate indictment was issued November 15, 2017 – both were unsealed yesterday. The State Grand Jury charged Brantley D. Thomas, III, 61, [THOMAS] who was the long-time lead financial officer for BCSD. The indictments encompass fifteen (15) charges, including fourteen (14) charges for embezzlement and one (1) charge of forgery.

Berkeley indictments

Embezzlement charges #1 and #2 allege that THOMAS, caused public school funds to be wired from a BCSD account directly into a personal bank account belonging to THOMAS and another person, whereby the funds were then converted to personal use.

Embezzlement charges #3, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #12, #13, and #15 allege that THOMAS converted public school funds to his personal use, by causing BCSD to disperse funds which supposedly were to pay legitimate BCSD expenses. These disbursements instead were converted to personal use by payment to THOMAS’s personal credit card account or deposit into THOMAS’s personal checking account.

The forgery charge [#4] alleges that THOMAS forged an invoice so that it appeared to be from a legitimate BCSD vendor but with the payment address altered to be the servicer of THOMAS’s personal credit card account. THOMAS thus caused the BCSD to make a payment from public school funds for THOMAS’s personal credit card [see charge #3].

Embezzlement charge #11 alleges that THOMAS converted public school funds to his personal use, by personally visiting a local bank branch and executing a counter withdrawal on a BCSD account supposedly to pay an “Additional Architect Fee” for Cane Bay Middle School – instead he used that $98,349 to pay down his own personal credit card.

Embezzlement charge #14 alleges that THOMAS converted BCSD funds to his personal use, by deliberately causing BCSD to overpay a vendor and then directing the vendor to refund that overpayment to his home address whereby he converted those funds to personal use.

The total amount alleged to have been embezzled in these indictments is approximately $458,493.35. The case will be prosecuted by State Grand Jury Section Chief Attorney General S. Creighton Waters and Senior Assistant Attorney General Brian Petrano.

Attorney General Wilson stressed that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty in a court of law.

You can read the indictments here and here.

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