Former Florence County lieutenant faces federal obstruction charges connected to illegal gambling case

Former Florence County lieutenant faces federal obstruction charges connected to illegal gambling case
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FLORENCE COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – A former Florence County Sheriff’s lieutenant who is accused of protecting an illegal gambling operation, now faces federal charges.

A criminal complaint filed on Tuesday shows that Mark Fuleihan faces obstruction of state or local law enforcement and obstruction of an official proceeding.

The criminal complaint outlines an investigation by agents with Homeland Security and the State Law Enforcement Division.

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Documents show that Fuleihan’s alleged involvement in illegal gambling operations in Florence County dated back to 2010-2011, where a sources of information claim that Fuleihan reached an agreement that he would warn them about enforcement operations in exchange for $1,500 a month.

“At first, Fuleihan said he would ‘look out’ for source of information #2′s sibling then the agreement changed into, if source of information #2′s sibling did not pay, then Fuleihan would make sure his/her machines were seized,” the criminal complaint states.

Also according to the criminal complaint, a confidential source told investigators that during 2015, they saw Fuleihan take an illegal gambling machine from the Florence County Sheriff’s evidence building and deliver it to another co-conspirator.

The court documents show there was another instance in June 2017, when Fuleihan approached SLED agents who were investigating a co-conspirator’s home.

“Fuleihan advised that members of his team had already been to co-conspirator #3′s house at the request of the Lake City Chief of Police. Fuleihan further stated that members of his team advised co-conspirator #3 to remove the machines and that they confirmed the machines were not longer on co-conspirator #3′s property,” the criminal complaint states.

But the documents show that SLED agents executed a search warrant eight days later and found illegal gambling machines inside the home.

Then most recently on Jan. 20, 2020, the criminal complaint shows that Fuleihan informed a co-conspirator that Homeland Security and SLED were planning to search multiple locations associated with him/her and that authorities were also looking into the co-conspirator’s phone.

When the co-conspirator learned about this, he/she discarded their phone into a river and also removed the illegal gambling machines from the locations identified in the search warrant, according to the criminal complaint.

Fuleihan was arrested back in April by SLED agents. He has already been indicted on state charges for public corruption.

Florence County Interim Sheriff William Barnes said that Fuleihan was dismissed from his position prior to his arrest.

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