COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) - Suspended Colleton County Sheriff Robert "Andy" Strickland has been charged with over a dozen new crimes, including embezzlement, corruption, and illegally dispensing drugs.
Strickland, who Gov. Henry McMaster suspended from office in November 2019, faces 15 new criminal charges after indictments by a state grand jury and South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson were unsealed on Tuesday.
The Attorney General's office is charging Strickland with six counts of misconduct in office, three counts of embezzlement, two counts of using his elected position for unethical financial gain, one count of using public funds to influence an election and one count of distribution of a Schedule IV controlled substance.
Separately, an Horry County grand jury charged Strickland with misconduct in office and distribution of a Schedule IV controlled substance.
Those charges come on top of another grand jury indictment following Strickland's arrest in November on a charge of second degree domestic violence in Colleton County.
The new indictments detail a laundry list of accusations against Strickland, who investigators claim used his elected position to get free labor and favors out of deputies and staff who were looking to stay "in his good graces for their continued employment."
Specifically, the attorney general's office claims Strickland was:
- Having deputies and staff spend time doing work and improvements to Strickland’s home, land, and other properties and businesses while they were on duty and being paid by the county.
- Giving a private citizen possession of a county-owned radio unit worth approximately $3,000, without a valid official reason. The radio had access to secure first-responder communication channels.
- Using county-owned vehicles, an ATV and tools for his personal benefit and work on his personal properties and businesses.
- Having deputies and staff work on his political campaign while they were on duty and being paid by the county, thus causing governmental resources to be used for his campaign related activities.
- Spent public funds on non-official lodging expenses during a law enforcement conference in Myrtle Beach.
- Used his power and control over employment and wages to coerce an ongoing sexual relationship with a subordinate, while on county time and using county resources.
- Gave schedule IV controlled substances to a subordinate who did not have a valid prescription.
- Provided alcohol to subordinate under 21 years old.
- Illegally distributed the prescription drugs Ambien and Adderall.
The charges come as a result of a joint investigation by a State Grand Jury, the S.C. Attorney General's Office and the S.C Law Enforcement Division (SLED).
"I didn't have much of a chance to review the indictment, but it's thick," explained Strickland's attorney, Andy Savage. "But I don't think the changes, they're combined charges. So for one charge, there are three different statutes, accused violations. So, it takes time to do our investigation."
Strickland's bond was set at $25,000 with GPS monitoring during a hearing on the new charges Tuesday afternoon.