Crime & Courts

Former DSS finance director, others face charges

The finance director of the Department of Social Services and nine others not employed by the state agency have been charged as part of scheme to embezzle more than $5.5 million, U.S. Attorney Walt Wilkins said today.

Paul Timothy Moore, 61, of Columbia, and nine others were charged in a federal complaint with theft of federal program funds, mail fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy, for their respective roles in an alleged scheme to embezzle more than $5.5 million dollars from DSS.

The complaint and arrest warrants were signed this morning by United States Magistrate Judge Paige J. Gossett in Columbia.

Moore is believed to be the brother of former S.C. gubernatorial candidate Tommy Moore.

An affidavit presented by a United States Secret Service Agent outlined the scheme:

Moore allegedly used his position as the agency’s finance director to authorize the issuance of about 761 DSS checks, averaging about $7,000 each between May 2004 and October 2008. The checks were made payable to names, authorities believe were provided by a co-conspirator, Jonathon Moses, 42, of Columbia, who recruited the named individuals to cash the checks and split the proceeds.

Eight other people are suspected as having cashed some of the checks and /or having recruited others into the scheme: Herbert McKie, 27, Aisha Leheva Crumpton, 23, Tyra L. Goodson, 36, Nova Kathleen Johnson, 40, and Sandra Denease Smith, 45, all of Columbia; and Gwendolyn Robinson, 41, Ortyse S. Mazone, 37, and Calandra Fabary Thomas, 38, all of Aiken.

Moore and Moses were arrested this morning and remain in custody until making an initial appearance in federal court in Columbia later today.

Wilkins said he expects additional arrests.

Anyone with additional information is asked to call the Columbia office of the Secret Service at (803) 772-4015.

The maximum possible penalty for theft of federal program funds and conspiracy is 10 years and a fine of $250,000; mail fraud and wire fraud each carry a maximum possible sentence of 20 years and a $250,000 fine.

-- From Staff Reports