Hoke County Board of Commissioners to hire private firm to investigate alongside SBI

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Hoke County officials have decided to hire an independent firm to investigate alongside the SBI.

The Hoke County Board of Commissioners called an emergency meeting Thursday morning to discuss the State Bureau of Investigations raid of county government offices earlier this week.



Commissioners admitted Monday's raid was serious, and decided to hire a forensic consulting firm to investigate alongside the SBI in an effort to prevent it from happening again.

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Thursday's emergency session was closed to the media as commissioners made their motion to move forward with the Charlotte based consulting firm Cherry Berkheart.

It's headed up by two former SBI agents, which could prove to be valuable when it comes to knowing what to look for and ways to keep fraudulent activity from happening in the county.

On Monday, a team of SBI agents worked well into the evening going over employee time sheets and payroll records of several county workers. The county manager called the SBI investigation a surprise, and said it only involved five county workers.

SHERIFF: HOKE COUNTY GOVERNMENT PROBE COULD GO FROM 'ZERO TO 60'

However, the board confirmed that 18 employee payroll files were confiscated.

On Thursday, Hoke County Board of Commissioners Vice Chairman Harry Southerland said one person had already resigned and another was terminated.

"The fact is that we have one HR employee who has resigned," Southerland said. "The other fact is that there's a sheriff's employee that has been terminated. There are no other terminations going on at this particular time."

Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin said on Tuesday that the investigation is much larger than just a few timesheets, and as many as 60 people could be involved in what the sheriff called serious crimes. The sheriff said his office had been investigating the alleged crimes for the past three months.

"Just wanted the citizens to be at ease that we're working real hard to get to the bottom of this stuff," Southerland said. "Right now, I want to make it clear that there's no issues regarding elected officials. These are employee issues that we're dealing with and personal issues we can't discuss."

ORIGINAL STORY: SBI EXECUTES SEARCH WARRANT ON HOKE COUNTY GOVERNMENT OFFICE

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