State Lottery Employee Indicted for Embezzlement of $200,000
A former employee of the South Carolina State Education Lottery, which raises money for the LIFE Scholarship, was indicted on March 15th on charges of embezzlement.
Anthony J. McNeil, 55, specifically faces charges of embezzlement of public funds over $10,000 – a serious felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and a steep fine.
According to the indictment, between April 2010 and August 2012, McNeil worked in the lottery finance division and used his position to embezzle $226,439. His scheme used overcharges, redirected funds, and bank sweeps to cover his theft.
McNeil was specifically in charge of collecting funds from retailers. He made changes to the agency’s computer system, which allowed him to overcharge some ticket retailers while not charging others at all. He then contacted the retailers he did not charge, and instructed them to deposit payments into an account that he controlled.
These mechanisms kept the discrepancy hidden, because it did not appear in the lottery’s overall numbers. Lottery director Paul Harper Bethea noted that the embezzled funds were not on the games side of the education lottery, only the financial side, so no players’ money was invested.
McNeil was fired on October 10th, 2012, after accounting discrepancies became more evident, and was arrested in November 2012. The investigation was turned over the SLED. Since the lottery commission is a state agency, the Attorney General will handle the case.
South Carolina Law Regarding Embezzlement of Public Funds
The South Carolina Legislature’s website lists all the South Carolina laws regarding embezzlement. Consequences of embezzlement of public funds are as follows:
(A) It is unlawful for an officer or other person charged with the safekeeping, transfer, and disbursement of public funds to embezzle these funds.
(B) A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a:
(1) felony and, upon conviction, must be fined in the discretion of the court to be proportioned to the amount of the embezzlement and imprisoned not more than ten years if the amount of the embezzled funds is ten thousand dollars or more;
(2) felony and, upon conviction, must be fined in the discretion of the court to be proportioned to the amount of embezzlement and imprisoned not more than five years if the amount of the embezzled funds is less than ten thousand dollars.
(C) The person convicted of a felony is disqualified from holding any office of honor or emolument in this State; but the General Assembly, by a two-thirds vote, may remove this disability upon payment in full of the principal and interest of the sum embezzled.
The Strom Law Firm Defends Against Emblezzment Charges
If you have received white collar criminal charges, you could lose your job, and your reputation. White collar criminal charges, including embezzlement of public funds, are serious crimes with serious consequences. The criminal defense attorneys at Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. include a former United States Attorney, a former public defender, a former Assistant Attorney General and Richland County Assistant Solicitor, as well as a tax lawyer familiar with IRS criminal investigations. The Strom Law Firm aggressively defends individuals on all criminal charges in all State and Federal Courts in South Carolina as well as the Federal Courts in Georgia. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so do not hesitate to contact us. 803.252.4800.