Brantley Thomas, former CFO of the Berkeley County School District, was sentenced to 11 years in South Carolina prison on Friday after pleading guilty Friday to 35 charges of public corruption and two charges related to stealing from a business that hired him as a bookkeeper.
The state sentence comes less than two months after Thomas was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison for embezzling from Berkeley County School District and taking kickbacks from an insurance vendor in exchange for the school district’s business. Thomas will serve his state sentence consecutive to his federal sentence.
Investigations by the FBI and State Law Enforcement Division found that as CFO, Thomas would intentionally overpay vendors so that a refund check would be issued to the school district. Thomas would then deposit the refund checks into his personal bank account either directly or by converting them to a money order first.
Thomas also took a total of $32,000 in kickbacks from an insurance vendor in exchange for the school district’s business.
After being fired from Berkeley County School District, Thomas was hired to be a bookkeeper for a private business, during which time he stole cash deposits and checks meant for his employer’s bank account.
In addition to the state prison sentence, Charleston County Circuit Court Judge Deadra Jefferson on Friday also ordered Thomas to pay $939,654 in restitution to the Berkeley County School District, which is the amount of embezzlement and theft uncovered in the state investigation; the federal investigation uncovered $382,251, for a total of $1.3 million.
Jefferson also ordered Thomas to pay $36,657 in restitution to the business from which he stole after being fired from the school district in February 2017.
The judge signed a notice of lien, which will require any benefit payable from his state retirement account be given instead to the school district until the restitution amount is paid.