A federal grand jury on tuesday returned indictments against the town of Kiawah Island’s former administrator and treasurer, accusing the top financial officials of embezzling roughly $200,000 from the small coastal community.
Federal prosecutors announced the indictments returned against former town administrator Tumiko Rucker and ex-treasurer Harrison Gunnells on a count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The charges come more than two years after town leaders accused the pair of potential criminal acts.
The indictments accused both Gunnells and Rucker of paying themselves excess salaries at least 16 different months between 2011 and 2015. Prosecutors also accuse the pair of giving themselves salary advances and using town credit cards for their personal purchases.
Both Gunnells and Rucker announced their resignations in May 2015, although Rucker planned to stay on the job for an additional month. Town leaders announced an investigation into potential improper spending by at least one employee in late May. A week later, town leaders announced they would suspend Rucker, then in July revealed a forensic audit which found both employees used town funds for their personal benefit.
The Charleston Post & Courier reports Rucker currently serves as CEO for Sea Island Comprehensive Health Care Corporation on Johns Island.