by Paul Bowers
The S.C. Law Enforcement Division arrested a Charleston County employee today on charges of forgery and embezzlement of public funds after an internal investigation found more than $8,500 was missing.
According to a press release from the county, Terrie Mobley had worked for 15 years as a customer service representative in the Revenue Collections Department, the office in charge of collecting more than $59 million per year in fees for accommodations, business licenses, solid waste disposal, and hazardous material services for the county as well as several municipal governments within the county. The department recently discovered that several checks had not been deposited over a four-month period this year, although internal documents had been altered to show that they had been deposited. The county's internal auditor investigated the discrepancies and found that "$8,583.53 in cash and a number of checks were missing from revenue collections deposits," according to the release.
The county turned the investigation over to SLED and the Charleston County Sheriff's Office on Aug. 16. Mobley was fired earlier this week and arrested today.
"The proper handling of public funds is crucial to the county's everyday business," says Charleston County Administrator Kurt Taylor. "Theft of public funds will continue to be dealt with in the strongest possible manner. We have already strengthened our internal procedures to prevent this from happening in the future. Full restitution will be sought from this employee, and other actions will be left up to the Solicitor's Office and the courts."
The release says that all of the missing checks have been recovered, and the county will contact each person or business whose check was mishandled and arrange for a deposit to be made. "No business or person has been penalized due to the missing payments, and the county will pay any costs of reissuance of the checks and then seek these costs as additional restitution from the employee," Taylor says.