County manager: SBI investigating pay records of Hoke County employees
Posted February 20
Raeford, N.C. — The State Bureau of Investigation on Monday evening took control of Hoke County government offices as agents investigated alleged criminal activity.
According to the Hoke County manager, Letitia Edens, the investigation surrounds time sheets and other pay records of at least 5 county employees. She did not go into specific detail about exactly what the SBI was looking for, but said they are looking as far back as a year and a half ago and that paper time sheets could be part of the issue.
"Certain departments are still on paper time sheets. The majority of the county is on computerized time sheets, I mean computerized time clocks, where we punch in with our numbers and it's computerized," Edens explained.
The District Attorney and Hoke County Sheriff's Office requested the investigation, which came as a surprise to Edens.
"It was a surprise for me. It came as a big shock for me," she said.
The SBI waited until about 4:15 p.m. to execute the search warrant to minimize disruption to the office. SBI agents left the office at about 10:45 p.m. and said they did not plan to return Tuesday.
County employees were sent home early as a result of the investigation.
The SBI's Computer Crimes Unit was assisting in the investigation, Edens said.
Edens said she doesn't believe the SBI will need to confiscate computers because they should be able to lift all the information they need from the servers.
County commissioners were at the building when SBI agents arrived. They were able to relocate their scheduled meeting to the courthouse annex building while the SBI continued their investigation.
In 2001, Hoke County was under the microscope of the State Crime Commission under suspicion of fraud.