FLORENCE, S.C. — Florence One Schools board member E.J. McIver was indicted by a grand jury Tuesday on charges of misconduct in office and embezzlement of less than $10,000, according to 12th Judicial Circuit Solicitor E.L. “Ed” Clements III.
The indictment was by an 18-person grand jury, 12 of whom must vote to return a true bill of indictment, Clements said.
The true bill indicates that probable cause — a legal standard meaning “a reasonable amount of suspicion, supported by circumstances sufficiently strong to justify a prudent and cautious person’s belief that certain facts are probably true” according to a legal dictionary — exists.
McIver was arrested on Sept. 26. According to arrest warrants issued on Sept. 17, McIver is accused of using a school district credit card for items outside his duties as a board member.
To get an arrest, Clements said, a law enforcement agency applies to a magistrate to receive an arrest warrant also using the probable cause standard.
Once the arrest is made, the information is forwarded to the clerk of court’s office, which then provides it to the solicitor’s office. The solicitor’s office examines the information and determines if it has prosecutorial merit. If the solicitor’s office believes it does, the information is presented to a grand jury, which must indict the person for the prosecution to go forward.
McIver did not answer when called Tuesday afternoon and did not respond to a message left seeking comment.
Florence One Schools Superintendent Richard O’Malley declined to comment on McIver’s indictment.
“I don’t believe I can offer a comment for this type of situation,” he said.
Florence One Schools Board Chairman Porter Stewart did not offer a comment when reached by phone Tuesday afternoon.
On the embezzlement charge, McIver is accused of using the card for “personal gain such as groceries, hotel stays, and meals. ...”
McIver also is accused of using funds advanced for a conference without actually attending the conference.
The warrant also notes that McIver had not submitted any receipts for $732.82 in charges between Jan. 12, 2016, and Aug. 25, 2019.
Embezzlement of funds under $10,000 is a felony, and persons convicted can be fined in the discretion of the court proportioned to the amount of embezzlement and imprisoned for not more than five years.
The section of code that lists the penalties for this crime also notes that a person convicted of a felony is disqualified from holding any office of honor or emolument in this state, but the General Assembly, by a two-thirds vote, can remove this if the amount embezzled is paid back.
On the misconduct charge, McIver is accused of using funds advanced for a conference without actually attending it.
The misconduct in office charge is a misdemeanor and carries penalties of up to a $1,000 fine and one year in prison.
The code section also notes that the presiding judge in whose court a defendant is convicted must transfer a copy of the indictment to the governor, who must declare the office vacant. The office must then be filled as if the person has died or resigned, meaning a special election would be called.
The warrants indicate the alleged crimes occurred between Jan. 12, 2016, and Aug. 25.
McIver was released on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond on the day he was arrested.
He defeated Thurmond Bacote for seat 3 on the board in 2010 and 2014 and won re-election in 2018 when he defeated Charles P. Foxe and Robert LeMaster.