RALEIGH — The State Bureau of Investigation has completed its inquiry into the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office and turned its findings over to the North Carolina Attorney General, a spokesperson for that office has confirmed.
“… Attorneys with our Special Prosecutions Division received the criminal investigative file in this case late yesterday and will be reviewing it,” Noelle Talley, of the North Carolina Department of Justice, said in an email early Wednesday morning.
Those prosecutors, handling the case at the request of Scotland County District Attorney Kristy Newton, will determine if charges should be filed, Talley said.
The investigation into the sheriff’s office began in February at Newton’s request. Newton received complaints regarding funds collected by the department from deputies performing off-duty security work.
Since August 2011, Scotland County sheriff’s deputies have worked off-duty to provide site security at Gryphon Group, with deputies remitting a portion of their hourly pay to the sheriff’s office as reimbursement for use of a county vehicle. From August 2011 to June 2012, deputies turned over $5 per hour worked at Gryphon Group to the sheriff’s office. In June 2012, when Gryphon decreased pay from $30 per hour to $25, that amount decreased to $4.
From 2011 to September 2013, the sheriff collected a total of $53,000 from deputies working off-duty at Gryphon Group and in a similar arrangement with Troy Construction in 2012.
On April 2, C.G. Cardwell, the assistant special agent in charge of the SBI financial crimes unit, obtained a search warrant signed by Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens allowing seizure of employment records relevant to the employment of county deputies in providing site security for Gryphon Group, including contracts, timesheets, checks, and listings of payments made since 2011.
“I believe this information establishes probable cause that Sheriff Shep Jones violated G.S. 159-32 Daily Deposits, that records exist at Gryphon Group Security Solutions, LLC, and those records contain evidence of the alleged crime,” the warrant reads.