by Paul Bowers
S.C. Law Enforcement Division agents have arrested the former executive director of the North Charleston Housing Authority on a charge of embezzling $6,559.04 in public funds.
According to an affidavit by SLED, George Luis Saldana used a Housing Authority credit card to pay for gas while taking numerous personal trips in a Housing Authority vehicle from April 2007 through May 2011. The affidavit says the card and the vehicle were entrusted to Saldana for official use only, but he drove the car on personal trips in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Saldana also allegedly used the credit card "to make purchases for gasoline and other items while on annual leave, sick leave, weekends, holidays, and while otherwise not in the performance of his official duties."
Special agents from SLED and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development investigated the case against Saldana, who was living in High Point, N.C., at the time of his arrest. Saldana is being held at the Charleston County Detention Center. He faces a felony charge of embezzlement of public funds with a potential sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine to be determined by the court.
According to news reports, Saldana was a finalist earlier this year for an executive director position at the Housing Authority in Lakeland, Fla.