FLORENCE, S.C. – Three Darlington County residents were arrested last week by South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) agents.

James Edward Stroud, 50, was arrested Friday and charged with six counts of property tax evasion and one count of conspiracy to defraud the government. The defendant was released from the Florence County Detention Center on Saturday after posting a $66,000 surety bond.

From 2012 through 2017, Stroud evaded paying more than $1,053,000 in property taxes due to Florence County.

Stroud owned more than 120 rental properties in Florence County.

The properties were unlawfully taxed at 4 percent for primary residences instead of 6 percent for secondary residences.

Assisted by two others, Stroud made it appear as if the rental properties were for sale under contract and were the legal residences of the tenants.

Stroud had tenants sign and submit fraudulent forms to the Florence County Assessor’s Office.

Evidence of this scheme was found during a search warrant executed at Stroud’s residence on Dec. 4, 2017.

If convicted, Stroud faces fines up to $10,000 and/or up to five years in prison per tax evasion charge and up to 10 years in prison for conspiracy to defraud the government.

Stroud was assisted by two co-conspirators, Walter Mitchell Capps Jr., 50, and Tracey Stroud Grooms, 46, both arrested Wednesday and charged with conspiracy to defraud the government.

Capps and Grooms were taken to the Florence County Detention Center and released the next day on $10,000 and $12,000 surety bonds respectively. If convicted, they each face up to 10 years in prison.