Orangeburg County Sheriff Larry Williams. File/Times and Democrat/Provided

For more than a decade, Larry Dalton Williams was the popular sheriff of Orangeburg County — South Carolina's 2003 Sheriff of the Year. And, when he died suddenly in 2010, one week short of his 54th birthday, colleagues were quick to praise his work.

“Everything he did was for the community,” 1st Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe told The (Orangeburg) Times & Democrat soon after the sheriff's death.

But while Williams was sheriff, he also funneled money into personal credit union accounts to buy a motor home.

The scam came to light two years after his death when Orangeburg County filed a lawsuit against Williams’ estate.

The lawsuit alleged that his fiancee, who worked at South Carolina Federal Credit Union and the Sheriff's Office, set up accounts using Orangeburg County’s federal identification number — without the county’s knowledge.

Williams then pumped federal and state task force funds into the accounts to buy a 1998 Discovery luxury RV for nearly $72,000, the lawsuit alleged.

Williams and his fiancee put the vehicle’s title in their names then changed it to the Sheriff’s Office. The lawsuit alleged they never told anyone at the department about the title change and that the department never used the vehicle for any law enforcement purposes.

It’s unclear how much money Williams diverted, but the county ended up with $70,000 from his fiancee and the credit union in a settlement.

As part of the deal, the fiancee and credit union admitted no wrongdoing. 

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Reach Tony Bartelme at 843-937-5554. Follow him on Twitter @tbartelme.

Tony Bartelme is senior projects reporter for The Post and Courier. He has earned national honors from the Nieman, Scripps, Loeb and National Press foundations and is a three-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Reach him at 843-937-5554 and @tbartelme

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