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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- News19 has learned that one person has beenfired andSLED is investigating funds taken from at least one South Carolina Education Lottery account.

SCEL's executive director Paula Harper Bethea, tells News19 that accounting discrepancies have been found and an investigation is underway.

"This is unfortunate," Bethea says. "I am not proud of this for the people of South Carolina, butI am proud of the fact that we found it ourselves, we reacted quickly, we called the proper authorities, and that we are going to move this to the fullest extent of the law whatever that happens to be."

Sources tell News19 the dollar amount is thousands. We're told that the money has since been returned, but charges are still likely to be filed.

"I will tell you that one person was terminated,"Bethea stressed to News19 that this involved the finance side of the lottery and not the games themselves. She says the person responsible has been fired from the lottery.

Bethea stressed to News19 that this involved the finance side of the lottery and not the games themselves. She says the person responsible has been fired from the lottery.

"Our games, our players, the integrity of our gaming system was never involved in this in any way shape or form," Bethea said. "So every person who's ever played our game...can be assured that the integrity of this organization is firm."

SLED would only confirm that an investigation into the accounting discrepancies is underway and would not release any other information.

WLTXsources say no arrests have yet been made.

Bethea says she was first alerted about possible discrepancies on October 1. On October 5, an internal auditor, SLED and the chairman of the Lottery Commission were told of the issues.

Lottery officials say the accounting discrepancies have beenresolved and "more stringent additional monitoring procedures" arealready in place.

"Anybody who has watched the lottery over the last ten and a half years can be assured that integrity of this organization is firm," said Bethea.

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