Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents took boxes of documents from the Bulloch County Clerk of Courts office Friday, planning to review the records regarding the handling of over $3 million annually.
No reason beyond a citizen complaint was given for the raid, which lasted all day long Friday as business went on as usual in the office.
Bulloch County Clerk of Courts Teresa Tucker, who has worked for the office for 31 years and took over as clerk two years ago after long-time clerk Sherri Akins retired, said over $3 million in fees, fines and payments flowed through the Bulloch County Clerk of Courts office during the past year, along with an undisclosed amount of cash and property from drug arrest seizures.
Micah Ward, Special Agent-in-charge with the Statesboro office of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, said while a huge number of boxes were seized to review after allegations of “possible misappropriation of funds” were reported, there are no suspects or persons of interest at this time.
Agents are not yet clear whether any crime or wrongdoing has been committed, he said. However, after reviewing the citizen’s complaint with Ogeechee Judicial Circuit District Attorney Richard Mallard, GBI agents obtained and executed a search warrant for the clerk of court’s office records.
Tucker said the clerk of courts office handles a mind-boggling number of tasks, handled by nine full time employees, a part-time employee and herself.
“We are cooperating fully with the GBI” regarding the investigation, she said.
The clerk’s office handles civil suits, files adoption records, liens, real estate deeds, criminal felony and misdemeanor records, juvenile court records, notary public records, UCC’s (loans secured with farm equipment, boats or other non-fixed collateral).
Also, military discharges, passports, warrants for arrests, and tickets from the Georgia State Patrol, Bulloch County Sheriff’s Department, Georgia Southern University Police, Department of Natural Resources and Department of Transportation.
Over the course of the past year, the Bulloch County Clerk’s Office has handled about $3,268,177, not counting money seized in drug raids. Tucker said Monday she was not immediately able to access those particular records.
However, in the past year, the office has handled $1,014,779 in civil filing fees; $632,686 in state court fines; $1,047, 237 in state court partial payments ( on probation fees, etc.); $255,184 in Superior Court partial payments, and $318, 291 in garnishments, she said.
Ward said it will “take some time” for agents to review the records to determine whether there has been any misappropriated funds. No further details will ne released until that has been determined, he said.