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Former Kiawah town employees charged with fraud in alleged embezzlement scheme

Kiawah Island, S.C. (Google Earth)

Two former Kiawah Island town officials have been indicted in federal court on wire fraud charges after investigators say they stole taxpayer money to pay themselves extra.

In a federal indictment handed down Tuesday, prosecutors claim Tumiko Rucker, former town administrator, and Harrison Gunnells, former town treasurer, conspired to defraud the town of out of approximately $200,000 over four years from 2011-2015.

The scheme involved writing themselves 16 combined additional monthly paychecks not authorized by town council, and frequently taking unauthorized payday advances from of the town’s funds, prosecutors say.

Additionally, prosecutors say Rucker used her town-issued credit card for personal expenses, such as doctor visits, airline tickets, car repairs and meals, and did not reimburse the town.

Should Rucker and Gunnells be convicted, prosecutors are seeking reimbursement of the funds the two allegedly embezzled from the town, or the forfeiture of property of equal value.

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