State Law Enforcement Division agents are looking into allegations of missing money in the Lexington County clerk of court’s office.
SLED spokesman Thom Berry confirmed the investigation Wednesday, declining further comment.
The office handles millions in child support and alimony payments as well as a variety of legal fees and fines.
Clerk Beth Carrigg said she requested the investigation after learning of the problem.
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“Recently, a financial discrepancy was brought to my attention, leading to an internal investigation which resulted in me seeking an independent audit to review certain financial transactions pertaining to this office,” she said.
That review confirmed a problem requiring the SLED investigation, she said.
Carrigg declined Wednesday to discuss the source of the money allegedly missing except to say it is not in child support – the bulk of money that her office handles – or other fees held in trust.
“In the big scheme of things, it’s a minute amount but it’s pretty big to me,” she said.
She declined to say whether anyone on her 40-person staff has been suspended or fired after the problem was discovered.
“I’m not at liberty to give any further comment until the investigation is complete,” she said.
It’s the third time since 2011 that county authorities have faced alleged theft by staff members.
County Treasurer Jim Eckstrom 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 court in 2013 after an audit found the financial irregularities, but no charges have been filed.
Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483