A former lieutenant with the Florence county sheriff’s office has been arrested by agents of the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on a bribery charge related to his alleged involvement in an illegal gambling ring.
The arrest of 48-year-old Mark Edward Fuleihan was confirmed on Thursday by the office of S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson.
According to documents obtained by this news outlet, Fuleihan was implicated in an investigation into his “alleged involvement in illegal gaming.”
Fuleihan was dismissed from his position with the Florence sheriff’s office by interim sheriff William Barnes prior to his arrest.
“Between April 2017 and March 2020, special agents with (SLED) conducted an investigation regarding public corruption within an illegal gambling organization operating in Florence county,” a probable cause affidavit accompanying the warrant for Fuleihan’s arrest noted. “The investigation identified multiple individuals associated to the gambling organization to include the defendant (Fuleihan).”
The affidavit went on to allege that statements from multiple sources “revealed first-hand knowledge of Fuleihan accepting monetary bribes between 2013 and 2017 from associates of the gambling organization.”
Agents investigating these allegations confirmed that “bribes were paid to Fuleihan in exchange for information/ services used to facilitate the operation of the illegal gambling organization and to avoid detection from other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.”
According to a release sent from Wilson’s office, SLED “utilized cellular telephone toll reports during the investigation to confirm Fuleihan’s continued communication with members of the gambling organization.”
Specifically, these reports revealed “continued communication patterns between Fuleihan and the gambling organization on specific dates/ times SLED was conducting enforcement action against the gambling organization, between 2018 and 2020,” according to the release.
As with anyone accused of committing any crime, Fuleihan is considered innocent until proven guilty by our criminal justice system – or until such time as he may choose to enter a plea in connection with the charge filed against him.
In his office’s release, Wilson stressed that “all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty in a court of law.”
If convicted of violating S.C. Code § 8-13-705, Fuleihan could face up to a decade behind bars.
Stay tuned … this news outlet will continue tracking this cases as multiple local sources have informed us that additional revelations are to come.
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