ORANGEBURG — Before his death in 2010, Orangeburg County Sheriff Larry Williams pilfered tens of thousands of dollars from public coffers, according to a lawsuit filed against the late law enforcement leader.
Earlier this month, the county sued Williams’ estate, alleging that Williams took money that his department had received as reimbursements for participation in state and federal taskforces and put it into personal bank accounts, according to the lawsuit, as reported Thursday by the Times and Democrat of Orangeburg (http://bit.ly/KWBiau ).
Williams was sheriff for nearly a decade before his September 2010 death from multiple illnesses including chronic kidney disease and acute respiratory failure. Current Sheriff Leroy Ravenell audited the office’s books and found more than $200,000 that had not been included in financial statements, the paper reported.
According to the suit, Williams spread the money among 11 bank accounts and used it for personal expenses, like paying off a $60,000 loan on an RV that he owned.
County officials are also suing Williams’ girlfriend, Ivadella Walters, who worked for the sheriff and also had a job at a credit union. Through her bank job, the suit says, Walters helped Williams open the bank accounts and squirrel away the public funds.
Attorney Carl B. Grant, who represents Walters, said that she denied any wrongdoing and that he planned to file a formal response to the lawsuit soon. Andrew Melling, a Columbia attorney who represents the county, referred comment to County Administrator Bill Clark, who did not immediately return a message Thursday.
State police are investigating financial irregularities in the sheriff’s office, but no one has been charged.
——— Information from: The Times & Democrat, http://www.timesanddemocrat.com