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Hoke sheriff calls overtime review 'orchestrated lie'

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Sheriff Hubert Peterkin reacts on social media to an independent review of overtime records

A Facebook post on the Hoke County Sheriff's Office and Emergency Management page says deputies and jailers are talking about quitting or resigning after an independent review accused the department of payroll irregularities.

Tuesday's post appears to have been written by Sheriff Hubert Peterkin and says in part: "How dare the officers be accused of stealing money they worked for over and over again. That's why they call it overtime!"

The post also says, "Every Commissioner signed off on this orchestrated lie to discredit me, but they have put your safety and lives in jeopardy."

A payroll overtime review reported by ABC11 Monday found irregularities in the sheriff's department.

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The review was supported by Cherry Bekaert, LLP, and The Charleston Group.

RELATED: Hoke County leaders staggered by auditor's findings

Cherry Bekaert's conclusion is that 29 jailers and five Sheriff's deputies identified in its report should be "thoroughly scrutinized by the SBI to determine if their highly irregular overtime was substantially justified and appropriately authorized."

The report's conclusions confirm the initial results presented to the County on May 15. The only overtime Cherry Bekaert found to be highly irregular in its work were these employees in the Sheriff's Office and Detention Center.

Cherry Bekaert found that these employees in the Sheriff's operations had several instances of the same types of overtime irregularities as Dedrick Graham, the deputy that Sheriff Hubert Peterkin dismissed on February 21.

RELATED: Hoke County probe turning into a legal standoff

Cherry Bekaert found that the total dollar amount of this potentially improper overtime grew substantially over the years it examined, especially between FY2012 and FY2014. The amount of overtime grew despite the fact that, over these three years, the combined staff in the Sheriff's Office and Detention Center also appeared to grow by 12 people. The total amount of questionable overtime exceeds $700,000.

The County will share the Cherry Bekaert report with these final results with the District Attorney and SBI by June 23.

Peterkin, who originally called in the SBI to investigate Hoke County government offices, has declined to release his department's records to the county in its investigation.

ORIGINAL STORY: SBI executes search warrant on Hoke County offices

In February, SBI agents raided county offices, seizing payroll records. A deputy and a county human resources employee later resigned.
Shortly afterward, the county hired the outside accounting firm to conduct an investigation.

Peterkin left the meeting Monday night without comment.

Related Topics:
SBIinvestigationHoke County NewsRaeford
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