Brantley D. Thomas, III, former Chief Financial Officer of the Berkeley County School District, pleads guilty to State Grand Jury Public Corruption Indictments

(COLUMBIA, SC) – April 12, 2019 – South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced that Brantley D. Thomas, III, 62, who was the long-time lead financial officer for the Berkeley County School District [BCSD], pleaded guilty today to all 35 State Grand Jury charges of public corruption.  THOMAS also pleaded guilty to two charges related to his stealing from a business that hired him as a bookkeeper after he was fired from the School District – including stealing from the business while he was out on federal and state bond.

Relating to his theft from the BCSD, THOMAS pleaded guilty to twenty-four (24) counts of Embezzlement of Public Funds $10,000 or more, eight counts of Embezzlement of Public Funds less than $10,000, two counts of Forgery $10,000 or more, and one count  of common law Misconduct in Office.  He also pleaded guilty to one count of Breach of Trust $10,000 or more, and one count of Money Laundering, relating to his theft from the business that subsequently employed him.   Previously, THOMAS had pleaded guilty in federal court on February 20, 2018 to separate charges related to his conduct as the BCSD lead financial officer, and had received a federal sentence of 63 months.  Today, the Honorable Deadra L. Jefferson sentenced THOMAS on the state charges to an active sentence of eleven (11) years, consecutive to the federal sentence.  THOMAS will serve his federal sentence and then be transported to the South Carolina Department of Corrections to serve his sentence on the State Grand Jury charges.

Judge Jefferson also ordered THOMAS to pay restitution to the BCSD of $939,654.94, which was the amount uncovered by the State Grand Jury investigation.  When added to the $382,251.61 uncovered in the federal investigation, the total amount of THOMAS’s embezzlement and theft was $1,321,906.55.  Judge Jefferson also ordered THOMAS to pay restitution to the business from which he subsequently stole, in an additional amount of $36,657.23.

Judge Jefferson also signed a Notice of Lien, which will require any benefit payable to THOMAS from his state retirement account to be paid instead to BSCD until the restitution amount from the State Grand Jury embezzlement charges is satisfied.

On the state side, the case was investigated by the South Carolina State Grand Jury, which is assisted by a partnership of the Attorney General’s State Grand Jury Section and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.  The case was prosecuted by State Grand Jury Section Chief Attorney General S. Creighton Waters and Senior Assistant Attorney General Brian Petrano.  The Attorney General wishes to thank the BCSD School Board and its board counsel for the assistance provided during the investigation.

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