COLUMBIA, SC (WBTW) – A grand jury has indicted Florence County Sheriff William Kenney Boone on charges of embezzlement and misconduct.
The governor has suspended Boone from office because of the indictment. Gov. Henry McMaster announced that former Sheriff William C. “Billy” Barnes has been named as a replacement.
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,” the release said.
The next election for Florence County Sheriff is in November 2020. There are currently five candidates: Darrin Yarborough, Frizell Moore, Thomas B. “TJ” Joye, Jr., Jody Lynch, and Boone.
Boone was charged with one count of misconduct in office and two counts of embezzlement, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced Wednesday.
The embezzlement offense is a statutory felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine at the discretion of the court. The misconduct offense is a common law misdemeanor, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
The indictment alleges that Boone used both county and federal funds allocated to the Florence County Sheriff’s Office for his own personal use.
The indictment claims Boone, “while serving in his capacity as Sheriff for Florence County, did purchase or cause to be purchased from the Florence County Sheriffs Office Federal Narcotics Account funds a variety of consumer type goods, including but not limited to bicycle equipment, groceries, coolers, baseball equipment, electronics, or clothing, from various vendors including but not limited to, Academy Sports, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Sam’s, Wal-Mart, Shell, Best Buy, Bicycle World, Rapid Weight Loss, Piggly Wiggly, Mainstream Boutique, GameStop, Mast General Store, and various restaurants, whereby he then unlawfully converted $10,000 or less worth of such purchases to his personal use.”
This case is being investigated by the State Law Enforcement Division and will be prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office.
Attorney General Wilson stressed every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty in a court of law.