An Horry County Schools employee was arrested Thursday morning on charges of embezzlement.
Mandy Diana Bellamy, 28, of Longs is charged with embezzlement of public funds at a value of $5,000 or more, according to jail records. Bellamy works in the child care program at Riverside Elementary School.
Bellamy was booked into J. Reuben Long Detention Center around 7 a.m. Thursday and released a few hours later on a $10,000 bond, according to jail records.
Riverside Elementary staff became suspicious in December when a money bag for the child care program was $170 short, according to an Horry County police report. School administration told police Bellamy had been “acting strangely” over the past few weeks and an audit showed several payments that were never given to the bookkeeper, the report said.
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Bellamy showed an “overwhelming interest” in receiving money from parents and would always want to drop the money bag in the bookkeeper’s office at the end of the day, the report said.
One on occasion, Bellamy volunteered to drop off the money bag “because she had top drop something in the mailbox of the principal,” but when the child care program director checked the principal’s mailbox it was empty, the report said.
On another occasion, staff reviewed surveillance footage which shows the suspect unzip the money bag, pull out several payments and set them aside, and then zip the bag up.
“However, as she walks to drop the bag it is clear there is something in her hand after she zipped the bag, suspected to be the $170 and receipt,” the report said.
Bellamy was placed on administrative leave with pay, pending the outcome of the investigation, the report said.
This is the second case of employee embezzlement in Horry county Schools in a year.
Yvonne Campbell, 51, was charged with embezzlement of public funds, value $5,000 or more in October 2015.
Campbell was the program director of an after-school program called “KidPower” at Forestbrook Elementary School, which offers childcare for students from 2:30 to 6 p.m. with rates ranging from $12 to $60, according to the school’s website.
An audit was performed in September showing money was missing from deposits for the after-school program, police said.
After further investigating, officials said they believed Campbell had not been depositing any cash payments for the program over the past five years, but only checks made out to the program, authorities said.
According to the report, accounting documents were provided to police that substantiated the school’s findings.
Campbell had been an employee with Forestbrook Elementary School’s after-school program since November 1999. She was placed on administrative leave Sept. 1 when the investigation began and is still on leave, according to Teal Harding, Horry County schools spokeswoman.
These after-school programs run successfully for many Horry County schools, and provide a place where students do homework, have a snack, and enjoy structured play while parents are finishing up their work days, Harding said.
“There’s a lot of places where these programs run really well. We certainly don’t want a negative perception to trickle over to those programs from this,” Harding said.
Claire Byun: 843-626-0381, @Claire_TSN