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Federal embezzlement charges filed against 2 in property business

Two South Carolina residents are facing federal charges related to alleged embezzlement of funds in their property management company. The accused individuals are the owner of the company -- a 48-year-old woman from Walterboro -- and the man in charge of the preparation and maintenance of the company's financial statements. He is 72 years old and resides in Hilton Head. It is alleged that the embezzlement from homeowner associations involved more than $3 million. 

FBI agents raided the offices of the company shortly after it ceased doing business in Feb. 2015. Computers, company records and other evidence were seized. Based on this evidence, prosecutors allege that the embezzlement occurred from at least the start of 2007 through 2014. During this time, the company owner allegedly transferred unauthorized amounts from bank accounts of the homeowners associations to the operating account of the company.

Allegedly, she obtained additional fictitious fees from her customers by charging them advance management fees. Also, she is accused of directing the accounts controller to conceal the embezzlement by falsifying bank reconciliations and financial statements. The two accused individuals each face five wire fraud charges. One count of misprision of a felony was filed against the company owner for deliberate concealment.

Despite the fact that these two South Carolina residents were both charged with embezzlement and wire fraud, federal prosecutors will have to prove the accusations against each defendant separately. With the support of their respective legal representatives, both individuals will have the opportunity to contest the accusations. A criminal conviction must be based upon proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt of each element of the filed charges.

Source: colletontoday.com, "Walterboro woman charged in Beaufort County embezzlement", Nov. 14, 2015

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