Fallout from state Rep. Andy Patrick's divorce case has attracted the attention of the FBI, the U.S. Secret Service and the Central Intelligence Agency, according to documents, interviews and statements made in court.
Officials from the FBI and Secret Service traveled to Hilton Head Island earlier this month to obtain documents removed from Andy Patrick's files by his estranged wife, Amee. She had gone through the files, which Andy Patrick had left in the couple's former home at 17 Timbercrest off Spanish Wells Road, in order to support allegations she has made against him in their divorce case.
FBI agents picked up from Amee Patrick what they described as "possible" counterfeit U.S. bills totaling $3,710 -- Andy Patrick acknowledged Wednesday that the money was indeed counterfeit -- as well as various other documents, according to records. Secret Service agents described the documents as "law enforcement sensitive information."
Available records don't specify what the CIA is interested in, but a paragraph in an affidavit Amee Patrick filed in Beaufort County Family Court says she believes money supplied by the CIA was funneled through Andy Patrick's security firm, Advance Point Global, and distributed to people "oconus" -- government shorthand for "outside the continental U.S."
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The agents who visited Hilton Head -- two from the Secret Service and two from the FBI -- did not return phone calls seeking comment on their interest in the material Amee Patrick had gathered. Nor did spokesmen for the agencies in Washington.
The FBI agents collected documents from Amee Patrick on Feb. 6, according to a property receipt they gave her. The receipt listed eight items, including a "FedEx package containing $2,500 (Possible) counterfeit" and a second batch of "(Possible) Counterfeit money" totaling $1,210. Other material the agents took was identified as Secret Service documents and paperwork relating to entities with whom Andy Patrick had business relationships.
An affidavit from a Hilton Head resident who was Andy Patrick's former personal secretary sheds light on the counterfeit bills taken by the FBI agents and subsequently turned over to the Secret Service, whose investigative purview includes counterfeiting cases.
The woman, Lauren H. Herndon, had been a friend of the Patrick couple and remains a friend of Amee Patrick. Herndon stated in the affidavit that she worked for Andy Patrick in 2010, the year he first won the S.C. House of Representatives District 123 seat. One day, while she was organizing files and binders related to the campaign and Advance Point Global, she came across a FedEx envelope, her affidavit says.
"It was already open so I looked in to find approximately $4,000 wrapped in $100 bills by a thousand at a time," according to the affidavit, filed Jan. 30 in Family Court. "The envelope to the best of my recollection was being sent from the U.S. to a woman in Mexico."
Herndon stated she later mentioned the money to Andy Patrick: "Andy, I'm not trying to be in your business, but I almost (threw) out a FedEx envelope that had, I think, $4,000 in it. He shrugged and said, 'Oh, yeah, it's counterfeit.' "
The money also is mentioned in an affidavit Amee Patrick filed in the divorce case. She said she discovered the FedEx envelope while the couple still lived together, and her description of its contents is the same as Herndon's.
Patrick was an agent for the Secret Service for 10 years before resigning in 2007.
Andy Patrick, in a statement released Wednesday, said that "after reading my wife's affidavit I immediately notified the United States Secret Service (USSS) of my wife's allegations. I met with members of the USSS to address my concerns and have complied fully with any and all requests by the USSS."
Andy Patrick said that when he resigned, "I turned in my accountable property to include equipment and files."
In the statement, Andy Patrick does not expressly say he turned in the counterfeit money. He said it was not unusual for him to have the money while employed by the agency: "Most agents have counterfeit money to use for educational purposes when they go out and speak to schools or civic groups," he said.
Patrick said the counterfeit money totaled about $2,000 -- about half of what FBI agents counted when they took it from Amee Patrick.
"This counterfeit currency was all marked with USSS inventory markers and was catalogued at the time it was confiscated," Andy Patrick's statement continues. "All of this currency is now in the possession of the Secret Service and they found no wrongdoing on my part."
SECRET SERVICE VISIT
About a week after the FBI agents came to Hilton Head, the Secret Service agents came. Documents they took from Patrick's wife included memos about protection procedures at the White House, the vice presidential residence in Washington and security measures at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn.
The Secret Service is responsible for protecting high-level U.S. government officials, including presidents, vice president and Cabinet members.
Secret Service correspondence indicates the agency is concerned about such internal documents getting into the wrong hands. A Feb. 13 letter from one of the two Secret Service agents to Amee Patrick's lawyer states that "the documents contain proprietary law enforcement information created by the U.S. Service for its employees to use in the execution of their duties."
The letter, from Felicia R. Rude, agent in charge of the Secret Service's office in Columbia, continued: "This material should not remain outside the custody of the U.S. Secret Service."
The documents the Secret Service wanted were turned in the same day, according to a property receipt given to Amee Patrick and her attorney, Lauren Martel of Hilton Head. Before releasing the documents, Amee Patrick copied some of them.
In the handwritten receipt, the agents described the documents:
- "1 Computer Evidence Recovery Program"
- "Various counter surveillance documents"
- "One folder containing counter sniper photos"
- "1 printed power point for counter surveillance training"
- "One document for new agent briefing for vice president's detail"
- "Various investigative forms"
- "1 site advance flip training booklet."
In Wednesday's Family Court hearing, Doug Brannon, Andy Patrick's lawyer, mentioned the CIA several times, but never elaborated on the connection between the agency and the Patricks' divorce case. In fact, Brannon said, he was uncomfortable with the subject after a meeting he and Andy Patrick had with two CIA agents in Columbia two weeks ago.
The CIA is mentioned in a portion of the affidavit Amee Patrick filed in Family Court in which she describes Andy Patrick needing to borrow money from her parents because "he must be in some kind of trouble":
"That trouble I later learned was due to money spent that was not his from a government entity, which I understand to have been the CIA, who used Advance Point Global's Bank account to funnel money ... to pay off Blackwater operatives. ... An agency would deposit a large sum of money into Andy's business account. This contractor working oconus (outside the continental U.S.) would then receive a pay check from Andy quarterly. ... The payoff to Andy was a portion of the money."
Some of the documents the FBI took from Amee Patrick pertained to a firm called Haab Enterprises. Correspondence from Haab Enterprises to Andy Patrick indicates Haab transferred more than $300,000 in 2011 and 2012 to Advance Point Global.
The correspondence says Haab Enterprises is based in New Castle, Pa. Municipal officials in the small town, however, say they have never heard of Haab Enterprises. No records for it exist in the Pennsylvania corporation record. Several telephone calls to Haab Enterprises were not returned, even after a receptionist was asked whether Haab was connected to the CIA.
Andy Patrick answered questions about Haab Enterprises this way: "I am not allowed to discuss this issue based upon inherent confidentiality/nondisclosure agreements that prevent me from doing so."