GEORGETOWN, SC (WMBF) – One of the organizers of the "Carolina's Got Talent" competition turned himself in to Georgetown police Friday on accusations of embezzlement.
According to a press release from the Georgetown Police Department, Wardell Brantley, 44, of Conway, is facing counts of embezzlement, breach of trust and operating without a business license.
Online records from the Georgetown County Detention Center state Brantley remained in jail just before 6 p.m. Friday under a $65,000 bond.
The suspect's charges stem from a fraud complaint filed April 21 by a "Carolina's Got Talent" contestant. The event was held at 1200 Highmarket St. at the Winyah Auditorium in Georgetown and administered by the South Carolina Media Arts Academy, which is headed by Brantley, the press release stated.
"Carolina's Got Talent" was held from September 2016 to March 2017, with a plans in the works for a second season, according to the release.
Through the investigation, it was revealed the competition was originally going to be a winner-take-all, with a $10,000 grand prize.
"Towards the end of the contest, it was stated that the top four finalists would be getting scholarships," the release stated. "On the final night, it was announced that one of the victims was the winner and he was set to receive the $10,000 and the scholarship, but no money was awarded that night."
A search warrant of the S.C. Media Arts Academy's bank records allegedly revealed the suspect was converting money that came into the academy for his own purposes.
Further, police allege Brantley was writing checks to himself from the Winyah Auditorium and depositing them, as well as accepting payment from auditorium customers using the money for personal reasons, the release stated.
The investigation continues and other arrests are possible. Anyone with information should contact the GPD at (843) 545-4300.