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Embezzlement charges filed against ex town clerk

A South Carolina woman has been accused of embezzling public funds over a period of more than 10 years. The charges against her followed an investigation by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division into suspected fraudulent activity and embezzlement by the 63-year-old clerk, who was employed by the town of Ward. According to investigators, the woman embezzled over $10,000 in public funds over a period from Jan. 2003 until the beginning of Aug. 2014.

Investigators indicated that the fraudulent transactions were outlined in the financial records they collected during the investigation. It is alleged that the clerk endorsed checks for cash to both herself and her husband. It is also alleged that she made personal credit card payments with public money.

Along with embezzlement of public funds, she has been accused of breach of trust with fraudulent intentions and forgery. It was reported that a conviction on all charges may lead to a possible 20-year prison sentence along with a potential court-ordered fine. The woman is said to have corroborated the findings of the investigators by both a verbal confession and a written statement.

South Carolina defense counsel will likely examine the confession to embezzlement that investigators claim to have secured, including the circumstances under which it was obtained and whether she had the benefit of legal counsel at that time. If the prosecution's case seems formidable, the fact of the woman's apparent cooperation with the investigation may be a linchpin in securing an acceptable plea agreement. In turn, that same cooperation, along with other mitigating evidence might be used to request a more lenient sentence than might otherwise have been imposed. 

Source: wrdw.com, "Former Ward Town Clerk charged with embezzling more than $10,000", Jan. 13, 2016

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