Friday, April 29, 2011

Former superintendent to plead guilty of embezzlement in South Carolina

Former Marion School District 2 Superintendent Dr. Nathaniel Miller is expected to plead guilty after being indicted by the state grand jury on charges relating to the embezzlement of more than $500,000 in public funds from both the Mullins-based district and Richland School District 1.

The case is being prosecuted by the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office. Communications Director Mark Plowden said Miller is expected to plead guilty Oct. 4 at Beaufort County Courthouse.
Miller and an associate, Samuel G. Lindo, were indicted Nov. 16 in a case in which law enforcement officials said, at the time of Miller’s arrest Jan. 19, 2010, he stole $503,199.50 in district funds. Most of the money was put to personal use, paying for the college tuition of various family members and other expenses.
Miller and Lindo were indicted on two counts of criminal conspiracy, three counts of embezzlement of $5,000 or more, 15 counts of obtaining signature or property by false pretenses of a value of $5,000 or more, and eight counts of obtaining signature or property by false pretenses of a value more than $1,000.
Miller was also indicted on nine other counts: embezzlement of $5,000 or more and eight counts of forgery involving an amount of $5000 or more. The crimes covered a span from 2006 to early 2010. State authorities were not able to determine if the indictment sums still added up to $503,199.50.
Each count carries sentences of five to 10 years.
According to a SLED arrest warrant affidavit, Miller “provided a voluntary statement to law enforcement on Jan. 13, 2010, which indicated he converted the funds for personal use. The state has independent evidence to corroborate the statement provided by Nathaniel Miller.”
The Marion County School Board of Education later approved Marion 1 Superintendent Michael Lupo to serve both Marion School Distracts 1 and 2 for the school year. The county’s three school districts — Marion 1, based in Marion, Marion 2, based in Mullins, and Marion 7, based in Centenary — are in the process of consolidating into a single district. On Jan. 26, the Marion County Board of Education hired former Columbus County Schools superintendent Dan Strickland as the county’s consolidated school district superintendent effective July 1.

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