Former Berkeley County School District CFO Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement, Money Laundering and Public Corruption
Charleston, South Carolina --- United States Attorney Beth Drake announced today that Brantley Thomas, 61, of Hanahan, South Carolina, pled guilty to a total of twenty federal charges involving Embezzlement, Money Laundering and Public Corruption. Evidence provided at the guilty plea established that Thomas, as the Berkeley County School District (BCSD) CFO, was responsible for paying BCSD vendors. When payment was due to certain vendors, Thomas would intentionally overpay the vendors so that a refund check would be issued back to BCSD by the vendor. Thomas then converted the refund checks issued to BCSD to his own use. Thomas’ scheme involved sometimes depositing the refund checks into a personal bank account, and other times converting the checks into money orders, which he would then deposit into a personal account. Thomas converted approximately $450,000.00 of School District money this way, spending the money on things such as travel and private club memberships.
Thomas also pleaded guilty to ten counts of Public Corruption. Thomas admitted to taking sixteen kickbacks of $2,000.00 each, for a total of $32,000.00, from an insurance vendor in exchange for BCSD business.
The Embezzlement and Money Laundering counts each carry up to ten years imprisonment. The Public Corruption charges each carry up to twenty years imprisonment. United States District Court Judge David C. Norton took the plea. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. Assistant United States Attorney Nathan Williams and Assistant Attorney General Creighton Waters are prosecuting the case.