South Carolina has recently experienced a rise in the number of embezzlement cases throughout the state. Many businesses and organizations have suffered from misappropriation by former employees and volunteers. This has led to an increase in the amount of accounts payable audits to discover how much money has been taken.
According to The Republic, much of the illegal activity has involved taxpayer money being stolen from state departments. The State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) alleges that in 2010, there were 107 charges in South Carolina of embezzlement, official misconduct and breach of trust. This number increased to 127 in 2011, and there are already 119 such charges so far this year. The thieves usually conduct illegal schemes for a variety of reasons that last for long periods of time.
"These thefts don't just take place one time," said John Crangle, executive director of Common Cause, a government watchdog group. "These people take money over a period of years and get quite good at it."
Efforts have been made to enact whistleblower laws that would offer financial rewards for leads and tips, according to the source. However, no such legislation has made it past the state legislature.
One of the larger profile cases within South Carolina involves embezzlement from White Knoll High School in Lexington County, reports The State. The former athletics director, Brian Butz, is accused of stealing approximately $135,000 from the school's booster club bank account by using a debit card to withdraw money and then spending the funds on personal expenses.
Another situation involving an educational institution is the embezzlement of thousands of dollars from an account belonging to Blythewood High School football club. The ex-manager of the organization, Enola Thornton, stole money by writing checks from the club and depositing them into her own personal bank accounts, according to the news source.