Former Lincoln Co. employee charged with fraud

- A former Lincoln County employee is facing fraud charges after using a county credit card to purchase thousands of gallons of gasoline, police say. 

The report was filed with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office on March 15, 2016. 

An employee of Lincoln County, reported that between January 13, 2016 and March 15, 2016 a Lincoln County government issued WEX fuel card had been used at multiple locations to purchase more than 9,000 gallons of gasoline valued at $18,011.66.

Deputies say Joseph Matthew Gibson, 24, of Dallas, NC was terminated as a Lincoln County Public Works employee on January 13, 2016. 

Someone used Gibson’s user identification number to make the purchases of fuel from locations in Cherryville, Lincolnton and Gastonia. 

Thirty-one purchases were made in Cherryville in January and February 2016. Eleven purchases were made in Lincolnton in early February, and 74 purchases were made at two locations in Gastonia between February 10, 2016 and March 13, 2016.

During the follow-up investigation the sheriff's office secured surveillance video from several locations that identified Gibson as the person buying the fuel. 

Deputies say the suspect usually drove a pickup truck with a fuel tank on the back.

The sheriff's office arrested Gibson at his home in Dallas Thursday, March 17. They said he admitted to taking the fuel card from a Lincoln County vehicle and using it for personal gain.

Gibson is charged with one felony count each of Embezzlement, Financial Card Transaction Fraud and Taking a Financial Transaction Card.  He was placed in the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center under a $10,000 secured bond.  He will have a first appearance in Lincoln County District Court on Friday, March 18.

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