SCSO: Former CFO at Sumter Behavioral Health Services charged with breach of trust

Rodney Dean Ellis

Rodney Dean Ellis
Image: Sumter County Sheriff’s Office

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office says Rodney Dean Ellis, who previously worked as Chief Financial Officer at Sumter Behavioral Health Services, is charged with eight counts of breach of trust with fraudulent intent, over $10,000. Officials say Ellis worked at Sumter Behavioral Health Services, formerly known as the Sumter County Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, from 2005 until his retirement in 2020.

According to investigators, a financial review in 2021 indicated Ellis may have stolen a large amount of money through the payroll system while working. This triggered an investigation from SCSO starting in October 2021. Authorities say the investigation revealed that Ellis used the payroll system to make unauthorized deposits in another bank account, and paperwork was altered to cover it up.

According to officials, Ellis took more than $800,000 during the eight year period reviewed by investigators.

“This type of selfish theft is inexcusable. This person was entrusted with millions of dollars of federal, state and client funds. These combined funds aid the treatment and long-term benefits of patients that voluntarily apply, are referred to or court ordered to seek assistance with some type of mental health or substance abuse issues. It is unacceptable that Ellis stole from this organization for his personal gain and took away from those that needed assistance. I expect that the judicial system will treat him accordingly,” said Sheriff Anthony Dennis.

Deputies say Ellis turned himself in and later received a $200,000 surety bond.

Categories: Local News, Sumter