WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WJBF) – The mayor of one Burke County city faces felony charges after an incident at a business in Bullouch County, Georgia. But, this is not his first brush with the law.
Waynesboro Mayor Greg Carswell opened up about turning himself in to Statesboro authorities after a warrant was issued for his arrest. But nearly three years ago, the city council questioned his use of city dollars with plans to send the actions to the FBI.
During a Waynesboro City Council meeting back in November 2017, Mayor Carswell stated, “I want to once again apologize for the discord my intentions caused. The keys, car and card have been given to Jerry and I will not use either again. I will have the money, $2601.94 paid to the city the next city council meeting.”
And just like he voluntarily turned himself in this week, Mayor Carswell took it upon himself to return everything council members noted as expenses not worthy to be paid for by the city back in 2017. Then, it was a more than $2,000 trip to Philadelphia about bringing a kids fun center to Waynesboro, personal trips in the city car all on the city credit card. And even a visit by celebrity gospel singer Dottie Peoples, all charged to the city totaling more than $4,000.
The mayor now faces a heavier legal battle: two counts of felony theft by deception and two counts of felony identity theft fraud. This comes after Statesboro Police Department reported an ongoing investigation into Carswell and his activities concerning Check-Into-Cash title pawn in Statesboro. Complaints date back to as early as September 2019 and they are working to identify more victims.
Carswell issued a statement on his Facebook page saying he’s not guilty. He also said his identity and other victims have been compromised and he plans to work with authorities to address the issues and make sure anyone responsible is arrested and convicted.
Back in 2017, the council voted for him to pay the city back its money, one councilman said it was a learning experience.
We’ve reached out to the council, one told us no comment. We also reached out to Mayor Carswell’s attorney, but did not receive a call back.
This is an ongoing investigation and more charges are pending, according to Stateboro Police Department. We will continue to follow the story.
Photojournalist: Gary Hipps