Terris Riley — the president of New Venue Technologies — was indicted last week on one count of embezzlement over $10,000 and four counts of breach of trust over $10,000, according to the state Attorney General’s Office. If convicted, Riley faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine at the discretion of the court for each count.
New Venue Technologies was responsible for paying various vendors that had supplied computer software to governmental entities within South Carolina, according to the indictment. Riley is accused of converting more than $2 million of that to her own use from 2011 to 2013. The indictments do not go into specifics, and law enforcement officials do not comment about what they consider an ongoing case.
But a 2014 contract dispute involving the state IT Management Office and New Venue provides more details, as the state procurement office accused Riley of using the funds that were due to vendors for her own personal expenses. According to state procurement officials, New Venue was entitled to roughly $570,000 in fees but instead took $2.7 million. Those same officials claimed Riley and her husband used the money to build a home, swimming pool, religious donations, and consultant services.
“On multiple occasions, New Venue withheld payment to the appropriate reseller and appropriated more than $2.7M of these funds for its own use and the use of its principles (sic),” Chief Procurement Officer Michael Spicer wrote in July. “This is a fraudulent act.”
The CPO’s ruling noted that New Venue was also supposed to set up a software license tracking system for state entities to use, but never created the system during the three years it held a contract.
Shortly after the indictment was handed down Thursday, Riley posted to Twitter: “You’re gonna be ok–no matter who–no matter what–you’re gonna be ok. The Son will shine again. Press on–you didn’t come this far to quit.” It was not clear if she was talking about the accusations against her, however.
Riley was arrested in November 2013 on one breach of trust charge that is still pending. The businesswoman had been serving on the governor’s Regulatory Review Task Force at the time. Gov. Nikki Haley removed Riley from the panel that was finding ways to eliminate, streamline, or modify thousands of regulations.