A Lander University former assistant controller admitted to embezzling several hundred thousand dollars of public funds on Thursday.
The Greenwood Index Journal reports 53-year old Chareen Faltermeier Stevenson was caught stealing more than $330,000 from the school over a 16-year span. Prosecutors claim she pocketed the money for herself and family. Circuit Judge Donald Hooker opted to give Stevenson one year of house arrest and five years of probation in lieu of a standard 10 year prison sentence for her crimes.
Senior Assistant Solicitor Elizabeth White said that an April 2015 audit showed an incorrect amount of overtime paid out and that the error pointed directly to Stevenson. White said Stevenson immediately admitted to the crime after questioning.
“The amounts were going straight into her account, along with the rest of her salary,” White said. “The weeks where she was on vacation, there were no discrepancies, so it’s pretty easy to look back and see that it was Mrs. Stevenson.”
The Index-Journal reports that Stevenson admitted to stealing from Lander University beginning in 1999. White said the full amount stolen cannot be determined because the school changed record systems in 2004. The Index-Journal says Lander University staff believe the total amount could exceed $500,000.
Stevenson used the money to pay for her bills, her children’s college educations and used the money for church donations.