A South Carolina man faces nearly a dozen felony charges in Gaston and Lincoln County after he was accused late last week of falsely obtaining several thousands of dollars in property, in addition to embezzling more than a quarter of a million dollars in funds from the Gaston County insurance agency where he worked.
Authorities with the North Carolina Department of Insurance said Jared Johnson Steele, 34, of 2262 Durand Road in Fort Mill, S.C., was charged Friday with two counts each of obtaining property by false pretenses and embezzlement in Gaston County.
According to an NC DOI press release, Lincoln County authorities additionally hit him eight more counts of obtaining property by false pretenses.
Steele served as an insurance agent at Capitol Guardian Risk Management, LLC, in Belmont and allegedly embezzled at least $312,000 in company funds, a release noted.
Steeleâ€™s employment with the company officially ended towards the end of 2010, said Capitol Guardianâ€™s director of compliance, Matt Chotkowski.
Company officials additionally noted that Steele did not work in the financial service aspect of the firm but was employed in a separate subsidiary known as Park Street Risk Management.
Chotkowski would not comment on further details surrounding Steeleâ€™s alleged criminal behavior.
â€œWeâ€™re looking forward to moving on,â€ he said.
Steele is additionally accused of deceiving at least one local resident and two area businesses, including Lincoln Countyâ€™s own Mad Dawg Inc. and Kingship Corp., into buying insurance policies that, together, totaled more than $23,000, authorities said.
The alleged criminal acts occurred between January 2010 and February 2011, according to Marni Schribman, NC DOIâ€™s assistant director of public information.
Steele was booked under a $25,000 secured bond Friday in the Gaston County jail and was released the following day.
JENNA-LEY HARRISON, Staff Reporter