Year in Review: Florence County sheriff accused of embezzlement

Year in Review: Florence County sheriff accused of embezzlement

FLORENCE COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - As 2019 wraps up, WMBF News is looking back at some of the biggest stories staff covered this year.

In April, Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone was indicted by a state grand jury on charges of misconduct in office and embezzlement after allegedly using both county and federal funds allocated to the sheriff’s office for his own personal use.

Boone, who was first named sheriff in 2005, appeared before a judge in Richland County and was granted a $50,000 personal recognizance bond on the charges. He was also placed on house arrest and ordered to wear a GPS monitor. During the hearing, Boone told the judge he is cooperating with the investigation, stating he was unaware of the allegations against him until his arrest.

Shortly after the state Attorney General’s office announced the charges against Boone, Gov. Henry McMaster suspended Boone from his office and appointed William “Billy” Barnes to serve as the interim sheriff of Florence County.

“I don’t know what happened to Kenney to bring us to this point, but I also firmly believed that no one is above the law,” Barnes said shortly after his appointment.

In May, a judge lifted Boone’s house arrest but ordered the GPS monitor to remain. Shortly after, the State Law Enforcement Training Council unanimously voted to temporarily suspend his law enforcement certifications because of the allegations brought against him.

Last month, Boone was indicted by a state grand jury on one count of misconduct in office and three counts of campaign ethics violations. The indictment alleges Boone received campaign contributions but failed to put them in his campaign account. Boone allegedly did not keep a record of what the contributions were used for and converted them to personal use.

“We feel very good moving forward with his case and we look forward to a resolution sooner than later. When this is all said and done, Kenney should be able to move on with his life and we hope that we can make that happen for him,” said Butch Bowers, Boone’s attorney.

All charges against Boone are eligible to go to trial in January 2020, but the defense could make a motion to split them up.

Barnes will serve as sheriff until Boone is “acquitted, convicted, the indictment is otherwise disposed of, or until a sheriff is elected and qualifies in the next general election,” a press release stated.

WMBF News will keep you updated on the case as we head into the new year.

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