A former staff member at the Lexington County clerk of court’s office was charged Wednesday with embezzling more than $10,000 in public money.
Ana Marin, 40, of the Round Hill area was arrested by State Law Enforcement Division agents after an investigation into missing money that began in mid-2015.
She is accused in a warrant of taking at least $36,000 in court fees between January 2013 and May 2015. No explanation was given for how the money was allegedly used, but the warrant said Marin’s bank records were checked.
Clerk Beth Carrigg, who is not seeking re-election this fall, requested the investigation after learning of missing money that the warrant said was determined to be $75,000 in a subsequent audit.
It’s unclear what happened to the other money exceeding what Marin is charged with taking for her personal use.
“Hopefully, there will be a swift resolution, as the citizens of Lexington County deserve an apology,” Carrigg said.
If convicted, Marin faces up to 10 years in prison.
Jake Moore, her lawyer, said she cooperated in the investigation. “I have yet to see any proof of wrongdoing on the part of Ana,” he said.
Marin worked on the 40-member staff for 11 years before she was terminated after the problem was discovered, Carrigg said.
The situation spurred a long-needed upgrade in the handling of court fees, Carrigg said. “We’ve made changes to an antiquated system so this can never happen again,” she said.
Besides handling fees, Marin served an an interpreter of legal proceedings for those who don’t understand English, dealt with computerized records and assisted in Family Court, Carrigg said.
It’s the third time since 2011 that county authorities have faced alleged theft by staff members.
County Treasurer Jim Eckstrom likewise made changes to prevent problems after a former assistant pleaded guilty in 2013 to taking more than $8,100 in public money for personal use.
SLED also looked into reports of missing money in magistrate’s court in 2013 after an audit found financial irregularities.
Tim Flach: 803-771-8483