SCSO: former chief financial officer of Sumter Behavioral Health Services accused of breach of trust

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Rodney Dean Ellis
Image: Sumter County Sheriff’s Office

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) – The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office said Rodney Dean Ellis, who previously worked as chief financial officer at Sumter Behavioral Health Services, is charged with eight counts of breach of trust with fraudulent intent, more than $10,000. Officials say Ellis worked at Sumter Behavioral Health Services, formerly known as the Sumter County Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, from 2005 until his retirement in 2020.

According to investigators, a financial review in 2021 indicated that Ellis may have stolen a large sum of money through the payroll system while working. This triggered an investigation by the SCSO starting in October 2021. Authorities say the investigation revealed that Ellis had used the payroll system to make unauthorized deposits into another bank account, and that the documents had been modified to conceal it.

Officials say Ellis took more than $800,000 during the eight-year period investigated by investigators.

“This kind of selfish theft is inexcusable. This person has been entrusted with millions of dollars in federal, state and client funds. These combined funds contribute to the treatment and long-term benefits of patients who voluntarily apply, are referred, or court-ordered to seek help for certain types of mental health or addictions issues. It is unacceptable that Ellis stole this organization for his personal gain and kidnapped those who needed help. I expect the justice system to deal with it accordingly,” Sheriff Anthony Dennis said.

Deputies say Ellis surrendered and was later given $200,000 bond.

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