Sheriff: County employee embezzled thousands from Upstate child support office

Julia Phipps (Source: Union Co. Sheriff's Office)

The Union County Sheriff's Office said a former deputy clerk of court was arrested in an embezzlement investigation.

According to Sheriff David Taylor, 41-year-old Julia Chandler Phipps was responsible for deposits made to the Domestic Relations account for the Child Support Office between January 2012 and June 2017.

During this time, a joint investigation with the State Law Enforcement Division revealed more than $10,000 in public funds had been taken, Taylor said.

A new clerk of court, Melanie Lawson was sworn in during January 2017. The sheriff said Lawson was vital in recognizing there was a discrepancy in funds.

In a statement, Lawson said: In light of recent events, I want the public to understand that no one paying child support is or has served time due to missing funds. The Family Court Domestic Relations account is a separate account where filing fees on new cases and motions are owed to the county and the state. This is a totally separate account from the Child Support account.Phipps was arrested and charged with misconduct in office and embezzlement of public funds.

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