COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) - Former Florence County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Mark Edward Fuleihan was arrested Thursday for an Ethics Act bribery charge, according to the attorney general.
A press release from South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson stated Fuleihan, 48, had served as a Florence County Sheriff’s Deputy since 1995 and was arrested at the Florence County Sheriff’s Office.
Florence County Interim Sheriff William Barnes dismissed Fuleihan from his position prior to his arrest for the offense, the release stated.
The State Law Enforcement Division began its investigation into Fuleihan began in April 2017 with a request from the Florence County Sheriff’s Office after it received information about Fuleihan’s alleged involvement in illegal gaming.
The arrest warrant shows that between 2013 and 2017, Fuleihan accepted monetary bribes from associates of a gambling organization.
Multiple sources of information confirmed that bribes were given to Fuleihan in exchange for information and services used to facilitate the illegal gambling operations and to also avoid detection from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, according to the arrest warrant.
Documents show SLED also used telephone toll reports to confirm Fuleihan’s continued communication with members of the gambling organization.
“I told you last April, I had inherited problems when I took over. This is one of the problems I knew I had,” said Florence County Sheriff Billy Barnes. “We have been in contact with SLED on a regular basis during the investigation. This incident involves no one else at this office, but I can assure you that if anyone breaks the law, we’ll prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. When a law enforcement officer crosses that line, he no longer belongs to our law enforcement family.”
The penalty is up to 10 years in prison and a fine of not more than $10,000. A person convicted of this offense is also permanently disqualified from being a public official or a public member, according to the release.
Message from Florence County Sheriff Billy Barnes: