Jasper County School District under investigation by IRS, FBI

sbowman@beaufortgazette.comMarch 5, 2014 

Representatives from the IRS and FBI were at the Jasper County School District office in Ridgeland on Wednesday and have launched an investigation into its operations, according to district spokeswoman Shellie Murdaugh.

Murdaugh could not provide further details about the nature of the investigation.

James May, assistant U.S. attorney for South Carolina, provided a letter to district officials Wednesday requesting they maintain several documents as part of an ongoing investigation. The documents are:

  • All paper and electronic financial documents, including contracts, invoices, travel vouchers, credit card statements and transparency reports.
  • Minutes of all board meetings.
  • Employment files for the superintendent, assistant superintendents and department heads.
  • All paper and electronic correspondence between school district employees.

Attempts to reach May were unsuccessful. Assistant U.S. Attorney Beth Drake confirmed that the letter was valid, but said she could not provide further details.

"The letter speaks for itself," Drake said.

Murdaugh said Jasper County schools had no prior knowledge of the investigation before IRS and FBI agents arrived at the district office.

Superintendent Vashti Washington has directed all employees to cooperate with the agencies, according to Murdaugh. The district also will make all records -- which by law are public information -- available to the agencies with a proper subpoena, Murdaugh said.

Attempts to reach board chairwoman Berty Riley on Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Board member Tedd Moyd said he could not comment because he doesn't know details about the investigation.

"The superintendent is handling it, I'm sure, and is going to bring the information to the board on Monday, and then we will take it from there," Moyd said.

Follow reporter Sarah Bowman on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Sarah.

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