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South Carolina town accuses public employee of embezzlement

An audit conducted by the city government of St. Matthews, a community of about 2,000 south of the South Carolina state capital, resulted in an arrest warrant against a 47-year-old former female public employee. Law enforcement arrested her in Calhoun County on charges of embezzling public funds in excess of $10,000.

The affidavit accompanying the arrest warrant detailed the evidence cited against the woman. Her position for the town included handling payments to the municipality, and the money appeared to be unaccounted for according to an internal audit. Town officials began the audit in early 2017 shortly after the accused person resigned from her job after allegedly taking actions to delay the audit. Investigators suspected that she had mishandled the money from January 2014 to January 2017.

The findings of the audit resulted in the issuance of a search warrant for the woman's bank accounts. Investigators found records of cash deposits to her personal accounts, and they concluded that the missing public funds represented her deposits. Her charges qualify as a felony, and, if convicted, the penalties could include a lengthy prison sentence and a commensurate fine.

Embezzlement is a serious white collar crime charge, and a person facing such accusations has a right to legal representation. A criminal defense attorney familiar with financial investigations might have insights about how to counter the allegations. It is a specific intent crime, which means that the defendant must have specifically intended to deprive the rightful owner of its property. An attorney might be able to cast doubt on the charges because of the lack of that element.

Source: Fits News, "St. Matthews Woman Arrested For Embezzling Funds", Jan. 31, 2018

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