HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC DIRECTOR ARRESTED ON EMBEZZLEMENT CHARGE
Lexington County Sheriff’s Department detectives arrested a 46-year-old Batesburg-Leesville man on an arrest warrant that alleges the man embezzled in excess of $135,596 in public funds of Lexington County School District One while the man served as the athletic director at White Knoll High School near Lexington.
Lexington County Sheriff James R. Metts said detectives arrested Bryan Rankin Butz, 46, at about 1 p.m. on Wednesday, September 29 at Butz’s home at 311 Speaks Avenue, Batesburg-Leesville, on an arrest warrant on a charge of embezzlement of more than $10,000 in public funds. Butz was being held on Thursday, September 30 at the Lexington County Detention Center on a $100,000 bond.
Under South Carolina law, embezzlement of more than $10,000 in public funds is a felony that carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison, Metts said.
An arrest warrant alleges that between June 2006 and September 2010 Butz, in his capacity as athletic director, was entrusted with the safekeeping, transfer and disbursement of public funds of School District One for the athletics program at White Knoll High, Metts said. Butz embezzled in excess of $135,596 of School District One funds, according to a financial investigation that was conducted at the request of School District One.
The arrest warrant further alleges that Butz laundered the School District One funds that he embezzled through a bank account that School District One did not authorize Butz to use, Metts said.
The bank account was created for the purpose of depositing money that the White Knoll High Booster Club collected to support the school’s athletics program as well as other School District One funds for athletics program expenditures, Metts said. Money that was deposited in the bank account was supposed to be used to reimburse School District One for expenditures for the athletics program at White Knoll High.
School District One administrators did not know that the bank account had been created, Metts said. The school district and Booster Club did not access the bank account.
Butz had signature authority on the bank account, Metts said. Butz possessed a debit card for the account that Butz used to withdraw cash from the account at automated teller machines.
Butz accepted donations from the Booster Club as well as other School District One funds designated for athletics program expenditures at White Knoll High and deposited the money into the bank account, Metts said. The donations were intended to be used to reimburse School District One for expenditures for the athletics program at White Knoll High. Butz converted the money to his personal use.
School District One Chief Financial Officer John Butler filed an incident report with the Sheriff’s Department on August 16 after Butler learned that Butz was accessing a bank account that the school district had not authorized Butz to access, Metts said. Butler reported that there were discrepancies in expenditures from the bank account and requested that the Sheriff’s Department conduct an investigation.
Detectives in cooperation with School District One and auditors retained by the school district conducted a financial investigation of the bank account to which Butz had access as well as all other bank accounts that are used to pay expenditures for the White Knoll High athletics program, Metts said. The White Knoll High Booster Club cooperated fully with the investigation.
The financial investigation established that Butz used the bank account to launder School District One funds that Butz embezzled, Metts said. Detectives did not find irregularities in any other bank accounts that are used for athletics program expenditures at White Knoll High.