Cosmetic surgery and trips are among luxuries paid for with money the executive director of a criminal defense lawyers' organization is accused of stealing.
Richland County Sheriff's investigators arrested and charged Teresa Charley Edmonds, 47, on Thursday after she turned herself in to the department. She is charged with two counts of breach of trust with fraudulent intent of $10,000 or more.
Edmonds is the executive director of the South Carolina Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
In March, the organization's president contacted the sheriff’s department because of concerns about $192,000 in missing money, stating at the time that the director was responsible for it.
The department's financial crimes unit began an investigation that culminated in Thursday's arrest. The money went missing between 2004 and this year. Edmonds is accused of using the association's money for personal dental and cosmetic work, trips, electronics purchases, clothing, food and trips.
Edmonds was booked into the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on Thursday on a $20,000 personal recognizance bond. She remained in custody as of 11:30 a.m. Thursday.
"We are deeply saddened and disappointed at the events which led to the termination of Ms. Edmond's employment with our organization and the subsequent criminal charges," the association said in an unsigned news release.
The association took note of the irony of the incident, given its role as an advocate for due process rights.
"(N)ow is not the time for further comment," the release said. "... Working daily in the criminal justice system, we have every confidence that a fair process will result in justice being served."