Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Two former South Carolina Department of Transportation employees and a contractor have plead guilty to corruption charges.
The charges included stealing property from the state to sell it and accepting bribes and extra compensation, such as tickets, in exchange for state jobs.
Curtis Singleton was the head of one of SCDOT's signal shop in District 1, he pled guilty to 10 charges. Joe Butler was an inspector working under Singleton. He plead to four charges. Allen Kent Ray, the contractor, plead guilty to two charges.
These charges come after years of investigation. Here's how it all started:
According to the South Carolina Attorney General's office, Mr. Butler stole a traffic signal cabinet, like the ones you find around stop lights, and was about to sell it to someone for $7,000.
That person called SLED and SLED moved in for a bust, the Prosecutor said.
Once officers took Butler into custody, the rest of the scheme started unfolding. They discovered Singleton accepted over $22,000 in bribes from contractors.
Ray would then pay Singleton to get the jobs that SCDOT would pay them for completing.
"The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) acknowledges the guilty pleas entered by two former employees," SCDOT said in a statement after the pleas were announced. "SCDOT thanks SLED for its assistance to date in this matter. SCDOT takes fraud, waste, and abuse of taxpayer funds seriously and will continue to cooperate with SLED and the SC Attorney General's Office until this matter is brought to a conclusion."
Singleton said in court he is unemployed right now. Butler works for the City of New Orleans, while Ray is a private contractor.
They'll all remain out of jail on bond while they wait for sentencing. Prosecutors say that will happen once the investigation is over.