SLED investigates finances at Orangeburg County Sheriff's Department

By Jody Barr - bio | email

ORANGEBURG, SC (WIS) - Agents with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division are investigating how 15 bank accounts belonging to the Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office went undiscovered during former Sheriff Larry Williams' tenure. The accounts held a total of $227,917 when the county closed its books June 30, 2010.

The accounts were uncovered by the McGregor & Company, LLC auditing firm during the county's annual audit, required under state law. Auditors reported that "existing bank accounts in the sheriff's office have not been included in the audited financial statements in prior years." Auditors could not determine the amount of money that was spent out of these accounts, or exactly how the money was spent.

Auditors were able to uncover some expenditures from the sheriff's office accounts and found that "purchases through these accounts during the current and past fiscal years have not followed County procurement policies." The report also showed the purchases made through the account were not "tagged for inventory" in the county's property database. The report also showed there were no accounting controls over the money and the bank accounts were never balanced.

Orangeburg County administrator Bill Clark said the report was presented to county council during Monday night's meeting. Clark said he and current Sheriff Leroy Ravenell "did ask SLED to do a follow-up based upon the information that was gathered in the report. We forwarded all that material to SLED."

Clark, who was in the middle of a budget retreat with Ravenell on Wednesday, would not comment further on the accounts. He said his office would release a statement Wednesday afternoon.

The audit report states that the county finance department and the Sheriff's Department have met to discuss the accounts. Starting July 1, 2011, the county Treasurer's office will hold all bank accounts that belong to the sheriff's office. The Treasurer's office will ensure the accounts are balanced monthly, and included in future county audits.

SLED is investigating the use of the accounts.

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