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Former Berkeley County schools CFO pleads guilty

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Brantley Thomas, former CFO of the Berkeley County School District, pleaded guilty Tuesday to 20 federal charges involving embezzlement, money laundering and public corruption that netted him almost half a million dollars.

ThomasAn investigation by the FBI and State Law Enforcement Division found that as CFO, Thomas, 61, of Hanahan, 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 made approximately $450,000 this way, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office.

Thomas also pleaded guilty to 10 counts of public corruption, according to the release, for taking 16 kickbacks of $2,000 each, for a total of $32,000, from an insurance vendor in exchange for the school district’s business.

The embezzlement and money laundering charges each carry sentences of up to 10 years in prison. The public corruption charges each carry up to 20 years in prison. No sentencing date has been set.

Thomas was fired by the Berkeley County School District in February after the district learned that he was under investigation for criminal misconduct. He had been employed by the district since 1993.

Reach Patrick Hoff at 843-849-3144.

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