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STATE SENATOR DEMANDS ANSWERS FROM DSS, REQUESTS LEGISLATIVE HEARING

January 26, 2009

STATE SENATOR DEMANDS ANSWERS FROM DSS, REQUESTS LEGISLATIVE HEARING

Mike Fair: “astonishing case shows a complete lack of accountability”

Columbia, SC – January 26, 2009 – How did one man embezzle $5.5 Million from a state agency? Where is the money now? How was the money missed during four official audits? Those are just a few of the many questions State Senator Mike Fair (R- Greenville) wants answered by the SC Department of Social Services in a legislative hearing.

Former DSS finance director Paul Moore has been charged with the theft of federal program funds, conspiracy, mail fraud, and wire fraud. He has admitted to embezzling $1.3 Million by cutting fraudulently checks to “needy” individuals who then split the payment with him. Moore has also admitted to blowing his portion of the funding on “his alcohol addiction, gambling debt and at adult dance clubs.”

Despite the admissions by Moore, officials have no account of the nearly $4.2 Million still missing. Even more disturbing is that four audits missed the embezzlements while a high-ranking state official walked away with millions.

DSS director Dr. Kathleen Hayes told The State newspaper “our financial people are still looking at where the money came from” and “we will do whatever is necessary to be sure no one can exploit the system ever again.”

State Senator Mike Fair says that actions speak louder than words. “This astonishing case shows a lack of accountability at the Department of Social Services. Their work is too important to allow a cloud of doubt to continue hanging over the agency. It remains to be seen if they can determine the source of the problem or develop a solution themselves,” Senator Fair said.

Senator Fair has requested that the Senate General Committee, Chaired by Senator Thomas Alexander (R – Oconee), hold hearings to investigate this case, the lack of accountability that allowed it to occur, the audit measures that did not catch the missing money, and the procedures that can be added to assure it never happens again.

Joel Sawyer, Spokesman for Governor Sanford, recently told the state “If you have a high-level employee that is intent on wrongdoing, there’s almost no way of catching them until it’s too late.”

Fair responded “that line of thought is completely unacceptable. Four audits
missed the embezzlement of $5.5 Million. Something’s wrong and we intend to
fix it.”

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