South Congaree’s former police chief is accused of accepting payment for seized illegal gaming machines.
The State Grand Jury indicted Jason Amodio, 45, and two others in connection with a Lexington County corruption probe. He is charged with common law misconduct in office, a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Amodio was police chief in the Lexington County town of 2,300 residents for 11 years.
He quit the post in May 2013, citing unspecified personal and family reasons.
The resignation followed a raid on Town Hall by FBI and SLED agents in which unspecified items were seized. Town leaders say no money was missing.
His tenure as chief was marked by complaints that officers were overzealous in citing minor traffic violations to generate revenue for the 3.25-square-mile community near Columbia Metropolitan Airport.
Violations often cited were for illegal window tinting, improper license tags and failure to use turn signals, some motorists said.
In the early 2000s, South Congaree was known for being more aggressive than any other town of its size in South Carolina in collecting money through law enforcement.
Records showed it collected more in traffic fines than communities at least 12 times its population.
Amodio and other town leaders said the stops helped thwart drug deals and other crimes, insisting the fines weren’t out of line for what motorists were doing.
After complaints about overreaching, Amodio ordered more warnings and fewer tickets carrying fines be issued for lesser traffic offenses.
Amodio was a West Columbia police officer before joining the South Congaree force as second-in-command in 2001. He became chief 15 months later. He was 34 when appointed chief in July 2002.