Judge gives Brantley Thomas $50K bond, orders him to get drug treatment

Brantley Thomas (File)

A federal judge this week set bond for former Berkeley County School District finance chief Brantley Thomas, who has pleaded guilty to federal charges of embezzlement, fraud and money laundering.

Thomas on Tuesday was given a $50,000 unsecured bond, and granted supervised release from custody on the conditions that he surrender his passport, not leave the state, be subjected to random drug testing, and that he seek medical treatment for substance abuse.

Thomas was fired by the Berkeley County School District in February, 2017 amid a SLED and FBI investigation of money laundering first discovered and reported by a local bank.

Thomas later admitted to stealing roughly $355,000 from the district, but court documents unsealed Dec. 7 alleged Thomas actually stole nearly $1 million from taxpayers over 14 years.

Thomas pleaded guilty during his bond hearing to the federal allegations made against him. His guilty plea is part of an agreement with prosecutors that allows Thomas to avoid indictment in exchange for helping prosecutors uncover information related to others potentially involved in his “scheme” to defraud taxpayers.

Meanwhile, Thomas has been indicted by a state grand jury on separate charges, and is due in state court Thursday, Dec. 14 for another bond hearing.

In all, prosecutors allege Thomas stole roughly $910,000 by converting district funds to personal use, and pocketed another $20,000 in a kickback scheme where he steered BCSD business to an insurance provider in exchange for money.

Thomas's plea agreement shows he has already paid the federal government $247,251 in restitution, but still faces fines of up to $750,000 and as long as 40 years in prison.

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