Hardeeville SC woman charged with theft of funds, sentenced Monday

A Hardeeville woman has pleaded guilty to stealing $45,000 from the Bluffton loan company she ran in 2019.

Laquandra Campbell, 37, of Hardeeville was sentenced Monday to five years probation instead of 10 years in prison on two counts of breach of trust with fraudulent intentaccording to Jeff Kidd, spokesman for the 14th Circuit District Attorney’s Office.

Campbell was charged in 2020 with stealing $45,000 from Advance America, a financial services company with a branch in Bluffton which offers cash advances and payday loans.

As store manager, she was the only one with access to the safe, according to a report from the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.

Company headquarters were first alerted to the missing cash when a $35,000 delivery in mid-September was missing from its records in 2019, despite being delivered in an armored truck, according to previous Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette reports.

The company sent a company employee to find the money and found that Campbell had wired $35,000 to another store to conceal it, police said in the report.

A day later another delivery of $10,000 was accepted by Campbell and was never recorded in the company records.

Campbell’s public defender Taylor Diggs did not respond to a voicemail and text message. A Facebook message sent to Campbell was not returned on Tuesday.

Sofia Sanchez is a breaking news reporter at The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette. She reports on crime and develops stories in and around Beaufort. Sofia is a Cuban-American journalist from Florida and a graduate of Florida International University in 2020.

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Jake Shore is a senior writer covering breaking news for The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette. It reports on the criminal justice, police, and court systems of Beaufort and Jasper counties. Jake is from sunny California and attended school at Fordham University in New York. In 2020, Jake won the top prize for police reporting from the South Carolina Press Association.

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