SOUTH CAROLINA (WMBF) - The investigation by SLED into the South Carolina Education Lottery accounting discrepancies has landed one former employee behind bars.
A statement issued by the South Carolina Education Lottery on Tuesday explains that the discrepancy was found in October, and the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) was immediately called in to investigate the matter.
"Appropriate actions have been taken and the accounting discrepancies have been resolved," says Paula Harper Bethea, SCEL's executive director.
"Anthony McNeil, Accountant / Fiscal Analyst III, who was terminated from SCEL on October 10, 2012, was arrested today in connection with the accounting discrepancies. According to our records and SLED's investigation, McNeil embezzled over two hundred thousand dollars over a period of about two years. The instances were sporadic," she continues.
The arrest warrant from SLED states the funds were embezzled between April and August when McNeil was employed in the Finance section of the SC Education Lottery. The internal audit for those dates show invoices were used to manually manipulate the computer system so funds from certain retailers were not collected, and others were overcharged.
Purportedly those retailers were contacted by McNeil and advised of a computer error. They were told to deposit the funds into an account controlled by McNeil.
In total, he obtained $226,439.07 in embezzled funds.
McNeil has been charged with embezzlement, a felony charged punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine. He is currently detained in the Richland County Detention Center.
Bethea further states, "All SCEL games, players and prizes were at all times protected. Although the tightest internal controls were in place, McNeil was intent and found a way to circumvent the procedures. Because of this incident even more stringent additional monitoring procedures are now in place."
"The people of South Carolina and our lottery players can know that at no time was the integrity or the security of the central gaming system or any of our games affected," Bethea adds. "Once we identified what occurred, we immediately began an internal investigation with our Internal Auditor. Within 8 hours this matter was turned over to SLED for a full investigation. We will prosecute to the full extent of the law, and we will seek restitution."