An employee who worked at O.C. Welch Ford Lincoln for a decade has been charged with stealing $2 million from the Hardeeville dealership over the course of several years.
“I feel violated,” said O.C. Welch, company president.
The employee, 54-year-old Deanne Ogden, was arrested Feb. 18 by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division along with her husband, David Ogden, 56, both of Jesup, Ga. The couple was booked at the Jasper County Detention Center.
Deanne Ogden, who was an assistant comptroller at the dealership, was charged with nine counts of breach of trust with fraudulent intent, valued at $10,000 or more. Each count carries a penalty upon conviction of a fine at the discretion of the court or up to 10 years in prison.
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David Ogden was charged with three counts of receiving stolen goods, valued at $10,000 or more. Each count carries a penalty upon conviction of a fine of at least $2,000 or up to 10 years in prison. He did not work for O.C. Welch Ford Lincoln.
Arrest warrants for Deanne and David Ogden said the money was diverted from O.C. Welch Ford Lincoln between June 25, 2008, and Oct. 14, 2015.
Welch said the service manager noticed late last year that the numbers on service tickets “didn’t add up” and launched an internal investigation. If the manager had not caught that one inconsistency, Welch said, the alleged fraud might have continued.
“There was a 1 percent chance we would have caught her,” Welch said. “We saw one thing that didn’t look right.”
Deanne Ogden is accused of creating fraudulent checks to pay for personal credit cards. The warrant says Deanne Ogden created fraudulent records to indicate the checks were made payable to legitimate parts vendors.
Welch said he asked Deanne Ogden about the record discrepancies last November, hours before a Jasper County police detective came in to question her.
“She said, ‘We’ve been friends for 10 years. I would never take a dime from you,’ ” Welch said. “That dime turned into $2.1 million, minus a dime, I guess.”
Welch said Deanne Ogden was fired after she refused to answer questions from the detective about initial findings from the investigation.
The arrest warrant for David Ogden claims he used the credit cards to make purchases, “knowing he or his wife did not have the sufficient legitimate income to cover the expenses.”
If convicted, each count carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
The release said the case was investigated by SLED at the request of the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office. The case will be prosecuted by the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.
Welch said moving forward, the company will do more verification for its employees and “look at things differently.”
David Ogden was released on a $60,000 bond on Friday, according to his attorney, Christopher Geier. Geier declined comment on David Ogden’s arrest on Friday.
When reached Monday, Deanne Ogden declined comment. The details of her release were not immediately available Monday.