Former Town of Ridgeland clerk sentenced for embezzling

      Mandy Drew (provided)

      RIDGELAND, S.C. (AP/WCIV) - A former clerk in the town of Ridgeland's water and sewer department has been sentenced to five years in jail for embezzling almost $120,000.

      According to a statement from the solicitor's office, 36-year-old Mandy Drew was sentenced Wednesday after a jury found her guilty of taking the public money.

      Judge Carmen Mullen also sentenced Drew to five year's probation and ordered her to repay the money she took.

      Officials with the solicitor's office said Drew would take payments made to the town and postthem so they would not appear on the current year's ledger or in the dailydeposits made to the bank.

      The statement said she then pocketed the money and credited the customer'saccount either after the daily payment log had been printed or in a prior year.

      Drew's lawyer pleaded for mercy, saying his client made a mistake and has two children.

      But prosecutors wanted the maximum 10-year prison term, saying Drew refused to cooperate with auditors and agents of the State Law Enforcement Division.

      "Mandy Drew was trusted with the public's money and sheviolated that sacred trust," said assistant solicitor Francine Norz, whoprosecuted the case. "The Town of Ridgelandcaught the activity through an audit, assisted the investigation and fullypursued the prosecution. Fortunately, the town also had insurance, so taxpayersare not out of the money."