Theft of public money on rise in SC

COLUMBIA — Cases involving stolen public money are on the rise in South Carolina.

The State newspaper reported Sunday that charges made by the State Law Enforcement Division for embezzlement, breach of trust and official misconduct increased from 107 in 2010 to 127 last year. So far this year, the agency has made 119 such charges.

SLED Chief Mark Keel says most involved public money. SLED often brings charges in public corruption cases because the statewide agency has the expertise and lacks potential conflicts of interest.

But local officers also make arrests. A 2010 case involved money stolen from a Lexington County high school’s athletic booster club.

The director of a government watchdog group says the known cases represent a small portion of what’s going on.

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