BEAUFORT, SC (Feb. 15, 2022) – A Bluffton bookkeeper who pocketed more than $240,000 from a local drywall sales and installation company is heading to prison.
Lora Mae Lewis, 69, of Heartstone Circle, was convicted Tuesday of breach trust with fraudulent intent following a General Sessions jury trial at the Beaufort County Courthouse. Lewis received a 10-year sentence, suspended to serve eight years in prison, followed by five years’ probation. Lewis also must repay $240,877 in restitution.
“As someone who managed this family-owned company’s checking accounts, she was in a position of trust,” said Francine Norz of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, who prosecuted the case. “She repeatedly broke that trust for her own gain and to the detriment of a small business.”
From March 2016 to November 2018, Lewis printed and deposited checks from a company account to a personal account. She did not have authority to sign checks and instead forged the owners’ name.
Lewis’s prior criminal record includes a 2009 conviction for breach of trust over $10,000. She received probation for that offense.
Circuit Court Judge Carmen T. Mullen handed down the sentence.
Should Lewis fail to meet all the sentence’s requirements, she faces the possibility of serving the entire 10 years in prison.
Norz prosecutes fraud and financial crimes throughout the judicial circuit. She has been with the Solicitor’s Office since 2006.