No child support payers jailed

By: Staff Report
Melanie Lawson

UNION COUNTY — The Union County Clerk of Court is assuring the public that no one required to pay child support has been sent to jail because of the embezzlement of more than $10,000 by a former member of her staff.

In a press release issued earlier today, Union County Clerk of Court Melanie Lawson addressed public concerns that have arisen following the arrest of former Deputy Clerk Julia Phipps. Phipps was charged Wednesday by the Union County Sheriff’s Office with Embezzlement of Public Funds, Misconduct in Office, and Misconduct in Office (Common Law) following an investigation by the Sheriff’s Office, SLED, and and State Forensic Auditors from DSS that determined that more than $10,000 in public funds were taken from the Clerk of Court’s Domestic Relations Account between January 2012 and June 2017. The warrants for Phipps’ arrest on all three counts states that in an interview with a SLED agent she confessed to to taking the monies collected for the Domestic Relations Account.

Phipps was fired from the Clerk of Court’s Office shortly after the investigation began. She turned herself in at the Union County Jail on Wednesday and has since been released on bond.

The investigation was the result of Union County Clerk of Court Melanie Lawson determining there was a discrepancy of deposits and funds in the Domestic Relations Account and contacting the Sheriff’s Office about the matter.

On Thursday, Lawson issued a statement about calls her office has received about the incident with people voicing concerns about whether or not the embezzlement of the funds has resulted in anyone required to pay child support being sent to jail. She said that no one required to pay child support has been sent to jail because of this incident.

Due to increased calls and concerns from the public, I feel that I should address the public at this time.

In light of recent events, I want the public to understand that no one paying child support is or has served time due to missing funds.

The Family Court Domestic Relations account is a separate account where filing fees on new cases and motions are owed to the county and the state. This is a totally separate account from the Child Support account.

This should clarify any questions or concerns with anyone paying or receiving child support.

Anyone with further questions or concerns should call the Union County Clerk of Court’s Child Support Division at 864-429-1632

Melanie Lawson Lawson
Because of embezzlement in Clerk of Court’s Office

Staff Report