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Fire chief, 2 others indicted on fraud and embezzlement charges

The St. Paul's Fire District Commission requested the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division to investigate irregularities that became apparent after audits. The Federal Bureau of Investigation joined the investigation that led to the arrest of three individuals on charges of fraud and embezzlement of federal funds. A Charleston Grand Jury recently indicted the three accused individuals.

Investigators allege that a fire district chief embezzled funds in two ways. He allegedly augmented his leave balances by adding stolen money before cashing in the leave later. Further allegations state that he also arranged for the company of one of the three defendants to overcharge the district for contract work done.

The additional funds paid to the company by the district were allegedly then divided between that business owner, the fire district chief and the third accused person -- an assistant chief. Authorities say each of the defendants could be fined $250,000 and up to 10 years behind bars if they are convicted. However, this can only occur if and when the prosecution has proved each one's guilt on both the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

Whenever a South Carolina resident faces fraud or embezzlement charges, the most practical first step would be to secure the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney. After assessing the circumstances of the case along with the evidence held by the prosecution, a skilled lawyer can launch an independent investigation. Based on the information obtained, the attorney can devise a defense strategy that may cause reasonable doubt that would prevent a conviction.

Source: live5news.com, "St. Paul's fire district chief indicted in fraud, kickback scheme", Dec. 14, 2016

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