The  Philip Simmons High School is one of five new schools that were built in Berkeley County as a result of the $198 million Yes 4 Schools campaign.  Leroy Burnell/Staff Former Berkeley County School District CFO Brantley Thomas. File/Provided A new housing development rising on Nassau Street will retur Radioactive uranium leaked through the floor of a nuclear Nearly 18 months after Berkeley County School District discovered it was being robbed by Chief Financial Officer Brantley D. Thomas III, the district continues to feel the effects — to the tune of more than $80 million, according to a district lawyer.

“The Brantley Thomas scheme was greater than $1.2 million confirmed already, and it’s likely much more,” said district lawyer Josh Whitley. “It affected this district to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.” The allegations represent the largest public embezzlement scheme in recent history and possibly ever in South Carolina, according to the state Attorney General’s office.

Thomas faces three state indictments charging him with a total of 29 charges — 27 of embezzlement and two of forgery. He also pleaded guilty in January in federal court to indictments charging him with one count of fraud and embezzlement from a federally funded program, nine counts of money laundering and 10 counts of “honest services wire fraud,” which involved receiving kickbacks for awarding insurance policy contracts to specific companies.

He has admitted guilt and is awaiting sentencing in federal court and a state trial. “In light of Mr. Thomas’ schemes, a $198 million building referendum grew to $279 million and this board had no clue,” Whitley said.

That includes $53 million in equipment bonds, $12.5 million from the reserve fund for construction overages, $14 million in additional bonds for construction, and $1.5 million in taxes when the district was forced to issue taxable bonds.  Thomas started taking money from the district as early as 2001, officials have said. He was fired Feb. Read more from…

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