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Ex-Animal Control director charged with embezzlement

Joey Prince


     Embezzlement and other charges are facing Columbus County’s former Animal Control Director.

     Joseph David “Joey” Prince, 51, of Wright Road, Tabor City, surrendered to investigators Wednesday, nine months resigning from the post he held for nearly two years, a news release from Columbus County Sheriff Lewis Hatcher said.

     Prince was charged with embezzlement and two counts of obtaining property by false pretense, all three felonies, and released from the Columbus County Detention Center under a $7,500 unsecured bond.

     Sheriff’s investigators began their investigation after being told that a laptop computer containing financial information and other documents were missing from the Animal Control office on Legion Drive in Whiteville, the news release said.

     Detectives determined that Prince, in the course of his job, had “created numerous PayPal and GoFundMe accounts to make it easier for nonprofit organizations to make donations and/or payments to Columbus County Animal Control,” the news release said. “Detectives subpoenaed bank records, PayPal account records, and GoFundMe account records for Mr. Prince and the Columbus County Animal Control.:

     Funds from an Animal Control PayPal account were transferred by Prince to his personal PayPal account, the news release said. Prince is accused of embezzling $1,599.12 from Columbus County Animal Control.

     Prince, when he resigned last fall, said long hours were to blame.

     “I need to find a job where I’m working less,” Prince said last September.

     Detectives have not concluded their investigation in this case, the news release said.

     Look for updates to this story here, as events warrant, and the full story in the next Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.