Georgetown Co. council member under investigation for fraud after residency complaint

Georgetown Co. council member under investigation for fraud after residency complaint

GEORGETOWN COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - A Georgetown County council member is officially under investigation for fraud because of a residency complaint brought against him.

Georgetown County spokeswoman Jackie Broach confirmed James Austin Beard is the councilman under investigation. The Georgetown County Board of Voter Registration and Elections will have a public hearing on Jan. 18 to review the complaint.

On Tuesday night, the Georgetown chapter of the NAACP went to the county council meeting to confront the council and council member James Austin Beard about his possible fraudulent activity when filing for office.

When running for office in Georgetown County, the candidate must live in the district they want to represent. But the Georgetown chapter of the NAACP says that Councilman James Austin Beard is not following that rule.

They claimed he lives on Huger Street in Georgetown at the house under his new wife’s name, when he should be living in Andrews.

When Beard filed to run for office in 2016, he gave a P.O. box as his residing address which is also not allowed under Georgetown law.

Beside the P.O. box address on his file for candidacy is a handwritten address for a home in Andrews, but Marvin Neal with the NAACP says that home is vacant and has been for a while.

The group says that when Beard first ran for office, he lived with his wife in Andrews, making him a legal representative of District Five.

They say the trouble started when he got divorced in 2013. That is when they claim he moved to Georgetown, but began using a P.O box address or an address in Andrews that to them never had a valid paper trail.

Live 5 News called, emailed, and went to the listed Andrews address and the Huger Street address in attempt to get answers, but got no reply or answer at the door.

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