Monday, March 3, 2014
The Williamsburg County Sheriff's Office is now under the direction of a new sheriff. Judge Clifton Newman formally swore in John Bartell as interim sheriff in a ceremony performed at the Williamsburg County Courthouse on Monday, February 24. Bartell, 66, is an active South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) agent
Bartell was a probation officer for 18 years before becoming a criminal investigator for SLED. In 2008 he retired from SLED and joined the 12th Circuit Solicitor's Office as a criminal investigator. In March 2013, Bartell returned to SLED.
Bartell will serve full-time as sheriff. Bartell said though this obviously was not in his plans, he is honored to have been considered for the position. "It wasn't in my plans but it is an honor to be appointed," said Bartell who is a lifelong resident of Indiantown. "This is a challenge but I'm looking forward to it."
The governor suspended Sheriff Michael Johnson from office after he was indicted by a federal grand jury on one count of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud. According to the indictment, Johnson conspired with Columbia-based FIG Investments, LLC owner Lester Woods to help customers falsely improve their credit rating. Johnson created false incident reports claiming people had their identities stolen. The fake reports created between March 2012 and August 2013, kept more than $11 million in bad debts off more than 130 credit reports. Johnson is the sixth in South Carolina's 46 counties to face criminal charges since 2010.