Judge delays sentencing for former Berkeley Co. School District CFO

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - A judge delayed the sentencing for the former Chief Financial Officer of the Berkeley County School District Thursday morning.

Brantley Thomas pleaded guilty to 20 federal charges in early January. The charges included one count of fraud and embezzlement from a federally-funded program, nine counts of money laundering and 10 counts of public corruption. According to the federal plea agreement filed on Dec. 7, 2017, the charges carry a maximum penalty of up to 300 years in prison. Fines could run into the millions of dollars, the document states.

Sentencing on those charges was expected Thursday, but Judge David Norton said he needed more information before sentencing Thomas. Norton wanted to know whether prosecutors believed any further details could come out in a pending civil case against Thomas and whether any additional people might face charges. Prosecutors said they were still investigating whether additional charges might be warranted.

In the end, the judge and prosecutors agreed to delay sentencing for two to three months.

Prosecutors say Thomas may have stolen more than $800,000 from the school district. They say he used an $89,500 grant for special education students to buy a lot for a new home in Hanahan.

They also accused Thomas of overpaying vendors through the school district and using $450,000 in refunded money for membership at a private club and travel overseas.

Thomas also is facing state charges, which carry a penalty of up to 135 years in prison.

Copyright 2018 WCSC. All rights reserved.