A judge's gavel
Credit: File photo

ATLANTA – Former Pickens County School Superintendent Carlton Wilson has pleaded guilty to multiple counts of racketeering and theft, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said Monday.

Wilson was involved in various schemes to illegally obtain charitable donations, county tax dollars, and funds from his own business for personal use, including one scheme involving his wife, Cindy.

“Carlton and Cindy Wilson stole thousands of dollars from hardworking Georgians, and now they are facing the consequences of their illegal actions,” Carr said. “This conviction is a major victory for all those who fell victim to the couple’s fraudulent and deceptive tactics.”

“Our detectives and prosecutors with the attorney general’s office worked hundreds of hours analyzing financial records and interviewing dozens of witnesses in an effort to bring this case to a close and provide restitution to our victims of this racketeering enterprise,” Pickens County Sheriff Donnie Craig added.

Wilson is a former teacher, school principal, magistrate judge, school superintendent and victim advocacy director for the district attorney’s office. He and his wife also own and operate a private company in Jasper.

In 2009, a private landowner donated 10 acres to a Boy Scout troop in Pickens County. Wilson was active with the Boy Scouts and exercised control over the land through that association.

Years after the donation, Wilson sold the property and kept $26,420 instead of giving it to the troop. He subsequently used the money to pay personal expenses.

During the last two years, Wilson suffered a serious injury while working for the county, exhausted the balance of his paid sick leave, and certified that he was still unable to work.

But while he was collecting more than $6,000 in leave time donated by county employees, he was actively working at his business doing work with the same physical requirement.

Also in 2021 and this year, both Carlton and Cindy Wilson embezzled funds from the business they shared with two other partners.

They wrote checks totaling more than $79,000 from the company and deposited them into their personal account. In addition, the pair redirected almost $25,000 in company revenue from a vendor to their personal account and took $42,800 in cash from the company.

Carlton and Cindy Wilson pleaded guilty last week. No date has been set for sentencing.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.