State Grand Jury issues Public Corruption Indictment against former Florence County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Mark Fuleihan

(COLUMBIA, SC) – May 14, 2020 – South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced that the South Carolina State Grand Jury today issued an indictment against former Florence County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Mark Edward Fuleihan. Fuleihan, 48, had served as a Florence County Sheriff’s Deputy since 1995, and had been arrested on April 2, 2020 by SLED and HSI agents at the Florence County Sheriff’s Office on a State Grand Jury arrest warrant. Florence County Interim Sheriff William Barnes had dismissed Fuleihan from his position prior to his arrest. 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 misconduct in office count reads in part as follows: “That MARK EDWARD FULEIHAN, in Florence County, from on or about January 1, 2013 until on or about March 31, 2020, and while a Deputy Sheriff in Florence County, a public official, did willfully and dishonestly fail to properly and faithfully discharge the duties of his public office imposed upon him by law; to wit: FULEIHAN did provide aid, counsel, comfort, assistance, protection, and sensitive law enforcement information to help an individual or individuals he knew were engaged in illegal gambling and related criminal activities. Therefore, FULEIHAN did, by malfeasance, misfeasance, and nonfeasance, commit acts and omissions in breach of his duty of good faith, honesty, and accountability to the public.”

The Ethics Act bribery count, for an alleged violation of South Carolina Code § 8-13-705, reads in part as follows: “That MARK EDWARD FULEIHAN did, in Florence County, on or about January 1, 2013 until December 31, 2017, while a Deputy Sheriff with Florence County, directly and indirectly knowingly ask, demand, exact, solicit, seek, accept, assign, receive, and agree to receive anything of value for himself or for another person in return for being: (1) influenced in the discharge of his official responsibilities; (2) influenced to commit, aid in committing, collude in, allow fraud, or make an opportunity for the commission of fraud on a governmental entity; and (3) induced to perform or fail to perform an act in violation of his official responsibilities; to wit: FULEIHAN did directly and indirectly demand and receive value for himself from an individual or individuals conducting illegal gambling and related criminal activities, in return for his assistance, protection, aid, counsel, and access to sensitive law enforcement information, which FULEIHAN provided to the individual or individuals.”

The penalty for a violation of common law misconduct in office is up to ten years in prison and/or a fine in the discretion of the court. This crime is a misdemeanor. 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. This 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. The case will be prosecuted by State Grand Jury Section Chief Attorney S. Creighton Waters and Assistant Attorney General Johnny Ellis James, Jr.

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 indictment here.

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