on August 1, 2007 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

County employee, husband caught cheating

WALHALLA — An employee with the Oconee County vehicle maintenance facility and her husband were arrested Tuesday for buying gasoline to fuel their personal vehicles using county credit cards.

Carol Anderson, who had been employed for seven years with the county, was fired after her arrest. She is charged with embezzlement of public funds.

Anderson’s husband, Ralph Lawson, is charged with financial transaction fraud.

The two were booked into the Oconee County Detention Center and released on personal recognizance bonds.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Holmes, a financial crimes investigator, said the arrests were made following a three-week investigation.

“The investigation is ongoing,” Holmes said. “We’ll continue to cover every aspect of this case.”

The investigation was launched after county internal management and audit controls indicated that approximately $3,000 had been improperly charged on county gas credit cards over a two-year period.

County Administrator Dale Surrett worked closely with the Sheriff’s Office to resolve the case, which he hopes sends a clear message that misuse of theft of public funds will not be tolerated.

“We are disappointed that this employees failed in her responsibilities to the people of Oconee County,” Surrett said in a statement. “Our county employees are to be commended for detecting this theft and providing critical information necessary to assist the Sheriff’s Office investigators.”

Holmes said that in the three years he’s been in the financial crimes division, this is the first time he’s seen county employees arrested.

“I know it has taken place in the past,” Holmes said. “You’ll find that from time to time.”