Beaufort News

Ridgeland clerk suspended as SLED investigates missing water and sewer money

A clerk with the town of Ridgeland's water and sewer department has been suspended without pay as the S.C. Law Enforcement Division investigates the disappearance of about $117,000 of the department's revenue, the town's mayor confirmed Thursday.

Mayor Gary Hodges declined to comment on the issue further and referred questions to SLED.

The division is investigating financial irregularities concerning a town employee at the request of the town, according to an e-mail from SLED communications director Jennifer Timmons, who declined to comment further.

Hodges wrote in an e-mail that an account of the matter in the weekly newspaper, the Jasper County Sun, was accurate.

The paper reported that an auditor discovered the missing money through a routine year-end check.

The money was diverted by backdating customer payments so they would not show up on daily reports but would still be credited to their accounts, the Sun reported. The auditor who discovered the discrepancy in the dates on the deposits informed town officials, who called SLED to investigate.

Suspended clerk Mandy Drew had worked for the city for 15 years and was responsible for logging payments for water and sewer service.

Drew declined to comment to the Gazette.