Arrest Warrant Served against former Florence County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Mark Fuleihan for Ethics Act Bribery Offense

(COLUMBIA, S.C.) – April 2, 2020 – South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced today that former Florence County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Mark Edward Fuleihan has been arrested for an Ethics Act bribery charge. Fuleihan, 48, had served as a Florence County Sheriff’s Deputy since 1995, and was arrested by SLED and HSI agents at the Florence County Sheriff’s Office. Florence County Interim Sheriff William Barnes dismissed Fuleihan from his position prior to his arrest for this offense. The investigation into Fuleihan began with a request from the Florence County Sheriff’s Office after it received information about Fuleihan’s alleged involvement in illegal gaming.

The warrant, for an alleged violation of South Carolina Code § 8-13-705, reads as follows:  “Between April 2017 and March 2020, Special Agents with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) conducted an investigation regarding public corruption within an illegal gambling organization operating in Florence County, SC. The investigation identified multiple individuals associated to the gambling organization to include the defendant, Mark Edward FULEIHAN. FULEIHAN was confirmed to be an active sworn law enforcement officer with the Florence County Sheriff’s Office at the time of the investigation. Statements by multiple Sources of Information (SOI) revealed first-hand knowledge of FULEIHAN accepting monetary bribes between 2013 and 2017 from associates of the gambling organization. SOI confirmed the bribes were paid to FULEIHAN in exchange for information/services used to facilitate the operation of the illegal gambling organization and to avoid detection from other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. SLED also utilized cellular telephone toll reports during the investigation to confirm FULEIHAN’S continued communication with members of the gambling organization. The telephone reports revealed continued communication patterns between FULEIHAN and the gambling organization on specific dates/times SLED was conducting enforcement action against the gambling organization, between 2018 and 2020.”

The penalty for a violation of South Carolina Code § 8-13-705 is up to ten years in prison and a fine of not more than $10,000. A person convicted of this offense is also permanently disqualified from being a public official or a public member.  The crime is a felony.

The joint federal and state case has been conducted with a partnership of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the South Carolina Attorney General’s State Grand Jury Division, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina, and the Florence County Sheriff’s Office.

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

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