Town employee accused of embezzlement: 'I know I've done wrong'

Candice Bottorff (provided)

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- A Mount Pleasant town employee was fired after administrators accused her of embezzling more than $52,000 over a four-year period.

Candice Bottorff was a Human Resources Technician for the town and according to officials, she confessed to the crime during an investigation by Mt. Pleasant police.

According to the Charleston County Sheriff's Department, she was arrested Monday by Mt. Pleasant police and charged with theft of public funds. Officials say she took $52,239 from the town.

"I know I've done wrong, but I just wanted to say I am sorry," Bottorff said, crying, when police showed up at her office, according to an incident report.

She went on to say that she has been skimming money from the town's coffers for four years because she was having trouble making her mortgage payments and was afraid of losing her home.

"She's saddened, she's humiliated," said Guy Vitetta, Bottorff's attorney.{}"She feels terrible and she's going to do whatever she can to make this right."

Court documents say Bottorff would withhold monthly cash payments from retirees for insurance benefits and deposit the funds into a personal checking account. The funds equaled about $800 a month.

A week ago, the Town of Mount Pleasant's finance department launched an audit. Vitetta says Bottorff showed up at his office and alerted him of what officials might find.

"Well, Betty had been doing an audit and I knew I was toast. And well, it's been preying on me. My stomach's been on fire for like a year and a half and I just couldn't get out of it," she told investigators.

She said the money was deposited into her personal checking account.

"[She felt] there was going to be a problem with the books and wanted to come to me and help kind of make things right," said Vitetta. "She was an honest person and wanted to work with the city and correct this problem."

In court Vitetta said Bottorff feels she has betrayed her employers trust. In a statement, town officials responded to the allegations. {}

"Our disappointment is great - both on behalf of the community and on behalf of the employees of the Town of Mount Pleasant," said Mount Pleasant Town Administrator Eric DeMoura. "We work hard to build a corporate culture that demands integrity, honesty and transparency from all our employees. We strive daily to meet these goals and we have controls in place to uphold these standards."

DeMoura said that despite annual spot-checks and audits, the funds were able to be stolen but their insurance will cover the loss.

"The breach of trust will be harder to repair," said DeMoura. "This person has let the community and her coworkers down and will be held accountable for her actions. The Town of Mount Peasant has no tolerance for such actions and we plan to prosecute Ms. Bottorff to the full extent of the law."

Vitetta says Bottorff has no criminal record and no insurance benefits were discontinued because of this case. He hopes Bottorff can repay the money instead of going to prison.{}

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off