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Former Berkeley County schools CFO sentenced

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Brantley Thomas, former CFO of the Berkeley County School District, has been sentenced to 63 months in federal prison for embezzling more than $1.2 million from the school district.

The sentence is on the highest end of federal sentencing guidelines, according to a memorandum from the government filed Friday.

Thomas

An investigation 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.

Thomas pleaded guilty to the 20 federal charges involving embezzlement, money laundering and public corruption in January 2018.

According to a sentencing memorandum Thomas submitted to the court earlier this week, Thomas is an “ashamed man, apologetic and prepared to accept the significant term of imprisonment that the Court will impose for his crimes.”

Thomas was fired by the Berkeley County School District in February 2017 after the district learned that he was being investigated for criminal misconduct. He had been employed by the district since 1993.

In November, Thomas was also indicted by a state grand jury, which alleged money laundering and breach of trust with fraudulent intent.

According to S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson, Thomas was entrusted with taking cash deposits from his employer for deposit in the employer’s bank account between March 2017 and September 2018, but Thomas instead converted at least $34,000 of those funds to his personal use. Thomas also was accused of using $2,657.23 to pay for a personal credit card by presenting his employer with checks for processing under the guise that they were for legitimate expenditures.

The attorney general also said Thomas conducted one or more financial transactions converting approximately $998.34 of cash obtained from unlawful activity into three postal money orders to disguise the source of funds that Thomas used to pay for a vehicle loan in his name.

The state case is currently pending.

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