Arrests warrants were issued Friday for a former employee of the Beaufort County Treasurer's Office accused of stealing $600 in 2007, a crime authorities say Treasurer Joy Logan knew about but did not report
During interviews with Treasurer's Office employees this month, Beaufort County Sheriff's Office investigators say they learned that in 2007, Casaundra White, 29, of Yemassee had been caught stealing $600 in cash. White admitted to supervisors she stole the money and paid it back, but the crime was never reported to law enforcement, according to a Sheriff's Office incident report.
Logan saidsupervisors noticed $600 missing from White's bank deposit bag. When confronted, White confessed to stealing the money and gave it back. White told Logan and others that her father was very ill and she took the money to pay bills. Since the money was immediately paid back, Logan said, she didn't feel it necessary to contact the police.
"If she took the money on a Friday, she put it back on Monday," Logan said Friday. "She put it right back. She confessed and we told her, 'Don't do this again, ever.' We slapped her hand but we didn't fire her."
Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner said whether White paid back the Treasurer's Office is immaterial.
"The bottom line is that it should have been reported," Tanner said.
Logan said she fired White Feb. 19 after being notified by the Sheriff's Office that they intended to pursue criminal charges against the former employee in connection with 2007 theft.
White is being charged with breach of trust with fraudulent intent, a misdemeanor based on the amount of money she is accused of stealing. She had not been arrested as of Friday night, according to the county's jail log. She has no prior arrests in Beaufort County, according to court records.
Sheriff's Office investigators are continuing to interview Treasurer's Office employees as part of an ongoing investigation into the disappearance of thousands of dollars from a property-tax delinquency sale in October.
That investigation was initiated by Beaufort County Administrator Gary Kubic, who asked Tanner to look into "financial discrepancies" in the Treasurer's Office late last year.
Tanner said White also is a person of interest in that investigation.
Kubic said Friday that a forensic audit of the Treasurer's Office likely will be necessary to determine whether White's admitted theft was an isolated incident or part of a pattern.
"I believe we need to pursue additional forensic accounting ... to restore a level of accountability," Kubic said. "I and everyone else needs some assurance that this is an isolated incident -- or not."
Tanner said his investigators need such an audit to continue their case.
"We have gone about as far as we can go," Tanner said. "The amount of money in question fluctuates daily. One day it's up, the next day it decreases and then it goes back up. We're stuck right now and we need an audit to give us an idea of the amount we're looking for."
In an interview with investigators, Logan said at least $6,000 in cash payments are missing from her office, according to the report.
Kubic said county officials have already begun researching accounting firms and hope bring a audit contract before Beaufort County Council for approval soon.