Judge orders Florence County sheriff on house arrest, GPS monitoring due to retaliation concerns

Judge orders Florence County sheriff on house arrest, GPS monitoring due to retaliation concerns
Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone appears at a hearing Wednesday afternoon after being charged with embezzlement and misconduct.

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – A $50,000 bond was set Wednesday afternoon for the Florence County sheriff, who was indicted by a state grand jury on charges of misconduct in office and embezzlement.

Sheriff Kenney Boone appeared in a Richland County courtroom at 3 p.m. for a bond hearing on one count of misconduct in office and two counts of embezzlement.

In addition to the bond, Judge DeAndrea Benjamin ordered Boone to be placed under electronic GPS monitoring and house arrest.

The solicitor said the electronic monitoring and house arrest were due to concerns over possible retaliation against the Florence County Sheriff’s Office, which instigated the investigation into Boone.

A press release from the FCSO states Boone was arrested Wednesday morning without incident by the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division.

“From the very beginning, the Florence County Sheriff’s Office brought the allegations supporting the indictment to the attention of SLED. FCSO has and will continue to cooperate with SLED and the S.C. Attorney General’s Office in the investigation and will be open for a full and complete audit of all spending by this office,” the FCSO release stated.

The misconduct offense is a common law misdemeanor, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The embezzlement offense is a statutory felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine at the discretion of the court.

The indictment alleges that Boone used both county and federal funds allocated to the Florence County Sheriff’s Office for his own personal use, the release stated.

According to the indictment, Boone used thousands of dollars from the FCSO’s federal narcotics account to buy, among other items, bicycle equipment, electronics, clothing, window tinting, floor mats and groceries from such businesses as Walmart, Best Buy, Bicycle World, Rapid Weight Loss and GameStop.

“Despite being charged with the good-faith administration of the funds allocated to the Florence County Sheriff’s Office, including but not limited to, State, Federal or County funds, BOONE operated contrary to his duties, failing to properly administer the funds while exploiting his position for unlawful personal gain and did, by malfeasance, misfeasance, and nonfeasance, commit acts and omissions in breach of his duty of good faith, honesty, and accountability to the public,” the indictment stated.

This case is being investigated by the State Law Enforcement Division and will be prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office.

Due to the indictment, Gov. Henry McMaster has suspended Boone from office. Former Florence County Sheriff William C. “Billy” Barnes has been appointed to serve in the interim.

Barnes previously served as sheriff from 1974 to 1993, according to the governor’s office. He has most recently worked as the department’s polygraph examiner.

The investigation is ongoing, but there is no indication that anyone else employed by the FCSO was involved in any of the allegations contained in the indictment, according to law enforcement.

WMBF News spoke with Florence County Council Chairman Waymon Mumford after news of the indictment broke.

Mumford has nearly 50 years of working with the city and county of Florence, with 25 of those years being in law enforcement serving as Florence police chief.

“I hate to see this happen to Sheriff Kenney Boone because he and I have worked together for the past 20, 25 years. I never saw this coming. It was a tremendous shock to all members of council and this community,” Mumford said.

As far as replacing Boone more permanently, that won’t happen at this point.

The Florence County Board of Voter Registration and Election said it will only hold an election if there’s a vacancy in the sheriff’s office, but at this point that isn’t the case Boone is only suspended. The election process will only begin if and when McMaster advises the board of elections to move forward.

The full indictment can be read below:

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