Pickens County chief magistrate judge arrested on 10 charges, including theft

Pickens County Chief Magistrate Judge Allen Wigington

Credit: Pickens County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Pickens County Sheriff's Office

Pickens County Chief Magistrate Judge Allen Wigington

The chief magistrate judge for Pickens County was arrested Wednesday night on several theft and violation of oath charges, authorities said.

Allen Wigington was taken into custody about 7:30 p.m. following an official review of financial documents that began in mid-December, the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post. Investigators said they discovered “questionable spending activity” on a credit card issued to Wigington.

Sheriff Donnie Craig contacted the Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office to discuss the review’s findings before requesting the GBI to assist with further investigation, the post said.

During the investigation, the sheriff’s office discovered that Wigington took funds from a local nonprofit organization, where he served as treasurer, the post said. He allegedly used those funds to pay off personal debts.

Wigington is then accused of taking funds from the county’s magistrate office to reimburse the nonprofit in an attempt to “remedy” his theft.

About 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, the GBI executed a search warrant at Wigington’s office to gather further evidence for the case, the post said. The agency then obtained warrants for his arrest.

He was arrested on three counts of unauthorized use of a financial transaction card, six counts of theft by taking and one count of violation of oath by a public officer. Wigington turned himself in to the Pickens County Adult Detention Center, where he is being held on a $50,000 bond, the post said.

GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles confirmed the agency’s involvement in the investigation but did not provide further details on the agency’s findings.

In other news:

Police say the thief is targeting people who are walking local trails in smash-and-grab robberies.