Former deputy charged with credit card abuse

A former Sheriff’s detective is facing multiple counts of financial transaction card fraud connected to the alleged abuse of a credit card, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

On Thursday, former Sampson County Sheriff’s Office Detective Lee Brown was charged with four counts of misdemeanor financial transaction card fraud after an investigation by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. The charges were announced by District Attorney Ernie Lee.

Lee stated that he was informed on May 8 by Sheriff Jimmy Thornton of alleged credit card abuse that occurred “on or about April 2015.” Thornton made the district attorney aware of the alleged incidents after his initial preliminary review of the matter, Lee noted.

That same day, Lee requested that the SBI commence an investigation into the allegations, which subsequently resulted in the charges against Brown. Details of the case were not immediately available.

“Sheriff Thornton concurred with my request that the SBI investigate this matter. I appreciate Sheriff Thornton contacting me in a timely manner,” Lee said in a prepared statement Thursday, adding that the case still has to make its way through court. “The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

According to county records, Brown was hired in June 2005 and was no longer a county employee as of May 12, 2015.