It has been alleged by an ongoing federal investigation that acts of ‘gambling has taken place and have resulted in the loss of several hundred thousand dollars in money from the South Carolina Hospitality association. This was reported by a reputable federal law enforcement official in a statement that was made on Monday, detailing that Secret Service is investigating.
The allegations of wrongdoing and “gambling” are situated in relation to the actions of one employee of the association, Rachel Duncan, who currently retains the position of association accountant, according to United States Secret Service Special Agent in Char, Michael Williams.
“Ms. Duncan has been interviewed, and she is a target of our financial crime investigation,” Williams has stated. He did not wish to elaborate further on details regarding the alleged gambling actions which it is believe that Ms. Duncan is involved.
Ms. Duncan’s lawyer, Greg Harris, declined to comment on the matter.
Whilst the issue of the missing money are central to the investigation, other events relating to the association do not seem to be taking much precedence. Williams stated that the Secret Service is currently not actively involved in other issues relating to the disappearance of Ms. Duncan’s boss, State House Lobbyist Tim Sponseller. Sponseller disappeared from work on Saturday, February 18th and has not been identified or found as of yet. His last known location was believed to be the offices where he worked.
Sponseller’s Mercedes sedan was however found in the office building’s underground garage, though there are no reports yet of any of his personal effects such as wallet and phone having been located.
The state of South Carolina has been intently analysing the situation, where Sponseller, who holds a number of friendships amongst public officials within the state, was a key contributor towards legislature relating to the $14 billion-a-year tourism industry.
The disappearance of Sponseller is being investigated further by the Secret Service with the help of local police officials, the Columbia Police Department, who is taking lead on the case.
“Our investigation strictly deals with a financial matter, but information is being shared,” Williams said.
Williams also said, representing the opinion of the Secret Service that “it’s unknown at this time” wether or not the investigation into the missing money has any links to the disappearance of Sponseller.
“We are still in the midst of unraveling this investigation as we speak,” Williams said. “Again, the investigation initially started out as a financial-crimes type of investigation.”
He also continued to mention Secret Service had been investigating the activities of Sponseller two months prior but declined to mention any other names aside from mr Sponseller. “He was not the initial target of the investigation, and it’s still too early to comment any further at this point.”
Amidst the investigation, the Hospitality Association has also hired its own accountant to examine the books and provide further information on the missing money in an effort to locate its origin and destination.
Source: The State