Former St. Paul's assistant fire chief pleads guilty in fraud, kickback scheme

Former St. Paul's assistant fire chief pleads guilty in fraud, kickback scheme

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A former St. Paul's Assistant Fire Chief pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to fraud and embezzlement charges.

Charles Riddle will face a fine and pay more than $3,500 in restitution after participating in a scheme to inflate contract payments.

In Dec. of 2016, a Charleston Grand Jury returned a two-count indictment charging St. Paul's Fire District Chief Doc McNeil Matthews of Hollywood, Assistant Chief Charles Riddle of Goose Creek and and Mary Jo Thomas-Delaney of Summerville with fraud and embezzlement from a federally funded organization.

As part of the guilty plea, Riddle has agreed to testify against former fire chief Doc Matthews and another woman charged, Mary Thomas-Delaney.

If Riddle is convicted, each count carries a maximum prison term of ten years, and a fine of up to $250,000.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division. According to a 2016 press release, the investigation was initiated at the request of the St. Paul's Fire District Commission after audits disclosed financial irregularities.

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