Former Hanahan human resources director charged with embezzlement
Hanahan — The city’s former human resources director is accused of diverting $10,000 in public money into her personal bank account.
Berkeley County sheriff’s deputies arrested Keyonda M. Garry, 31, of Murray Drive, shortly after 4 p.m. Monday on a charge of embezzling public funds.
Garry is the second Hanahan human resources director to come under scrutiny for alleged improprieties with public funds in recent years, authorities said.
The State Law Enforcement Division has been investigating one of Garry’s predecessors, Kimberly Murdaugh, since March 2010, City Administrator Johnny Cribb said. He declined to elaborate on Murdaugh’s case, and a SLED spokeswoman declined comment, citing the ongoing investigation.
Garry had worked for the city since June of last year, Cribb said. She was placed on leave Aug. 3 pending an investigation into a possible theft of city funds, and she resigned Aug. 8, authorities said.
Neither Cribb nor Sheriff’s Office spokesman Dan Moon would say specifically what she is accused of doing.
An arrest affidavit filed in the case indicates that Garry is accused of using an automated transaction system to deposit $10,000 in city funds into her account at First Citizens Bank in June.
Mayor Minnie Blackwell said the city intends to push for her prosecution.
“Anyone caught stealing money from the city, we are going to prosecute,” she said. “You can’t just let it lie. This is the citizens’ money.”
The Post and Courier attempted to reach City Council members as well. They either did not return calls from the newspaper or referred comment to Cribb.
Hanahan police turned over the case to the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office to avoid any potential conflicts from an in-house investigation, Hanahan Police Lt. Michael Fowler said.
Garry was released from jail after posting $15,000 bail, according to court records. She could not be reached for comment.
Her predecessor, Murdaugh, held the human resources position from July 1994 until she was fired in March 2010, Cribb said.
Cribb said several policy changes were put into place after Murdaugh was let go, including hiring a full-time financial director.
“The measures we put in place certainly helped the city and our citizens in terms of tax money,” Cribb said of the policy changes. He would not specify what other changes were made.
Cribb said SLED is handling Murdaugh’s case because her husband, Mark Murdaugh, worked previously as an officer with Hanahan police. Mark Murdaugh, a lieutenant, has retired from the force, but Fowler could not specify when that occurred.
Blackwell also would not elaborate on exactly what Kimberly Murdaugh is accused of doing, but she said that Murdaugh’s case and Garry’s case were “different.”
“We did make major changes after the first one,” she said. “And I will say that it’s because of those changes we were able to catch this one immediately.”
One other person held the human resources position between Murdaugh and Garry, Cribb said. That person is not implicated in either investigation, he said.
Dave Munday and Brenda Rindge contributed to this report.