Former fire chief charged in connection to prostitution sting accused of embezzlement

Former Indian Fire Chief Thomas Pickard was charged with embezzlement after members of the department reported funds had been misused. (Source: Lancaster County Sheriff's Office)

Former Indian Land Fire Chief Thomas Pickard was charged with embezzlement after members of the department reported funds had been misused.

Pickard, 52, was arrestedin 2018 during a prostituition sting in York County, leaving the department without access to their funds. The fire department's treasurer told police he went to the bank and transferred the funds out of Pickard's name.

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According to a report from the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office, the treasurer noticed funds had been misued starting in January 2018. The treasuere noticed about $2,403.72 missing from the South Carolina Firefighters Association 1% Fund, the report stated. He told authorities those funds are not supposed to be moved without an approved budget, which was not submitted in 2018.

Officials were also told several cash withdrawals had been made between January 2018 and November 2018- which were not permitted due to the type of account. According to the report, there were not any receipts from the transactions which also included other purchases from Aldi’s, Food Lion and other locations.

Only the treasurer and former fire chief had access to the account in 2018, the report stated.

Pickard turned himself to authorities Wednesday, and was taken into custody on a charged of embezzlement of public funds valued at less than $10,000.

The former fire chief, who also served as the lieutenant for Lancaster County Fire and Rescue, resigned from both positions after being arrested in 2018.