Crime & Courts

South Carolina Municipal Employee Arrested For Tax Crimes

Camden’s finance director facing multiple charges …

The South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) has announced the arrest of a Midlands businesswoman accused of evading thousands of dollars in state taxes while underreporting millions in liquor sales throughout the pandemic.

Last Friday (February 2, 2024), the former operator of Gadgets of Lugoff — a sports bar and grill off U.S. Highway 601 in Kershaw County — was served with twelve arrest warrants and booked into the Kershaw County Detention Center before posting a $5,000 bond that afternoon.

According to SCDOR agents, Debra Ann Courtney, 63, evaded $238,384 in state taxes while underreporting in excess of $2.4 million in liquor sales between 2019 and 2022. She’s furthermore accused of “failing” to pay income taxes withheld from employee’s paychecks for upwards of ten years.

Courtney’s charges included one count of income tax evasion, two counts of failure to file an income tax return, three counts of liquor by the drink tax evasion, one count of failure to file a liquor by the drink tax return, three counts of sales tax evasion, one count of failure to file a sales tax return and one count of failure to account for and pay withholding tax.

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If convicted, Courtney faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine for each count of each criminal charge … which could interfere with her side job as a municipal employee within Kershaw County.

Yes, you read that right …

Courtney serves as the City of Camden’s director of finance — a position she’s purportedly held since 1998. In other words, she’s part of the administration responsible for tripling utility rates across Camden and encompassing counties in 2022. The irreversible rake-hikes appear to have been the result of a backdoor power purchase agreement with Carolina Power Partners in 2018.

As for Courtney? She remains on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. This, according to city manager Jonathan Rorie, who furthermore added that “[Camden] will not comment regarding any of her personal activities.”

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According to SCDOR, Courtney was the first tax crime-related arrest of 2024. The agency furthermore confirmed twenty (20) people were arrested by the agency for similar charges in 2023.

“The SCDOR is committed to the fair administration of tax laws,” a spokesperson for the agency noted. “By taking enforcement action against noncompliant taxpayers, (SCDOR) seeks to prevent unfairly increasing the tax burden on those who do comply.”

Count on FITSNews for continued coverage of this case — as well as any additional updates from law enforcement officers or local government officials.

Finally, if you know of similar cases that deserve investigative scrutiny, please reach out to this media outlet. We’re not only committed to exposing nefarious activity — but steadfast on holding our public servants accountable.

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THE ARREST WARRANTS … 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Andrew Fancher (Travis Bell)

Andrew Fancher is a Lone Star Emmy award-winning journalist from Dallas, Texas. Cut from a bloodline of outlaws and lawmen alike, he was the first of his family to graduate college which was accomplished with honors. Got a story idea or news tip for Andy? Email him directly and connect with him socially across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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4 comments

More Women In Government February 7, 2024 at 2:17 pm

We need more women in government, don’t we? Kershaw County brags that all three incorporated municipalities have female mayor’s. Now if we could just get more on councils!

Reply
John Pawlick February 7, 2024 at 7:52 pm

While you are digging in Kershaw County you should also ask about the arrest of county magistrate Darryl Drakeford for DUI on January 26th in Richland County. He is also a department of revenue employee. The same agency investigating Debra Courtney.

Reply
jbl1a February 7, 2024 at 8:36 pm

That will go the same way the public drunk charge went for senator Tom Davis in Lexington. No record, no charges no history. I think even the mugshot is gone. All like a fart in the wind

Reply
Jeff Mattox Top fan February 8, 2024 at 9:02 am

“The SCDOR is committed to the fair administration of tax laws,” a spokesperson for the agency noted. “By taking enforcement action against noncompliant taxpayers, (SCDOR) seeks to prevent unfairly increasing the tax burden on those who do comply.”
Translation: The Mafia is committed to getting their cut and those who do not comply will be used as an example to ensure we won’t be forced to extort more from the cowards who do comply with our fair terms.

Reply

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