BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Brantley Thomas, the former chief financial officer for the Berkeley County School District, is facing new charges for public corruption.
There are 14 new charges against Thomas; one for forgery, and the rest accusations of embezzlement.
He was indicted on those new charges by the state grand jury just this week.
He is now accused of embezzling more than $600,000 from the school district.
Brantley previously pleaded guilty to federal charges, which carries a punishment of up to 300 years in prison and fines of millions of dollars.
A judge is expected to sentence him on those charges in the next couple of months.
The South Carolina Attorney General Office released the following information on Thomas' new charges:
Embezzlement charges #16, #17, and #18 allege that Thomas directed a trustee for the BCSD's bond issuer [SAFE] to make payments to "Wachovia Bank," supposedly to reimburse BCSD for legitimate "Cost of Issuance" expenses. These disbursements instead were converted to personal use for payment to a personal line of credit at Wachovia Bank that Thomas shared with another individual.
Embezzlement charge #19 and forgery charge #20 allege that Thomas forged an invoice so that it appeared to be from a legitimate BCSD vendor but with the payee as "Bank of America," the servicer of THOMAS's personal credit card account. THOMAS thus caused the BCSD to make a payment from public school funds for THOMAS's personal credit card.
Embezzlement charges #21 and #22 allege that Thomas converted BCSD funds to his personal use by presenting documents alleging amounts due for "Standby Letter of Credit"-type fees, causing BCSD to issue checks made payable to "Wells Fargo Bank." These checks were converted to personal use for payment to a personal line of credit at Wells Fargo bank that Thomas shared with another individual.
Embezzlement charges #23, #24, #25, #26, #27, #28 and #29 allege that Thomas converted BCSD funds to his personal use by presenting documents alleging amounts due for "Corporate Trust Services"-type fees, causing BCSD to issue checks made payable to "Wells Fargo Bank." These checks were converted to personal use for payment to a personal line of credit at Wells Fargo bank that Thomas shared with another individual.
The Berkely County School District leaders released a statement following Thomas' arrest. Chairwoman of BCSD Sally Wofford wrote:
We are grateful to the Attorney General's Statewide Grand Jury's Office for their perseverance and continued commitment of time and resources to expose Thomas's complicated schemes and fraudulent activities. When this Board first learned of the federal investigation in February 2017, we took decisive action to terminate the district's financial auditors, hire forensic auditors, order general counsel to begin an internal investigation and fully cooperate with the law enforcement investigation. We appreciate the efforts of our district staff, especially the finance department, to support this ongoing investigation. Though it has been a difficult 16 months, BCSD has proven its resilience, and we will continue to do whatever is necessary to ensure the stability and success of our district. This Board remains committed to cooperating with law enforcement to discover all wrongdoing and recover all monies stolen by Brantley Thomas.