Boyette, Royal are indicted in Screven scandal

The Wayne County Grand Jury met Tuesday, determining that enough evidence existed in the apparent financial mismanagement of Screven city funds to indict two former public officials on a total of seven counts.

Former mayor Melvin Boyette and former city clerk Janet Royal were together indicted on a felony count of theft by taking.

Additionally, Boyette was indicted for felony theft by taking, making a false statement, and three counts of violation of oath by a public officer.

Royal was indicted on an additional felony charge of theft by taking.

Judge Roger Lane announced the indictment in Wayne County Superior Court Wednesday morning.

In January, while accountant Chris Harris was performing an audit for the fiscal years 2013-2014, he began seeing irregularities in the city’s bookkeeping.

At the January meeting of the Screven City Council, Harris reported that SPLOST (special purpose local option sales tax) funds were commingled with the city’s general fund. This violated SPLOST terms, which specify that these funds can be used only for the voted-upon purpose. According to Harris, as much as $90,000 of SPLOST revenue appeared to be moved to the general fund.

Additionally, of the 64 items being paid by the city of Screven, no invoices existed for 46 of them.

Furthermore, Harris found that checks from the city of Screven had been stamped with Boyette’s signature rather than being signed directly, making it impossible to determine who had approved each expense.

Prior to the January meeting, Royal—who serves on the Wayne County Board of Education—had resigned her position as city clerk. Barbara Daniels was then named clerk, and the city turned the case over to the GBI.

Boyette was defeated in his bid for re-election last year. His term ended in December.

Royal turned herself in Wednesday afternoon and was released on a $2,500 bond. Three hours later, Boyette turned himself in and was released on a $25,000 bond.

For more on this story, see this Saturday’s edition of The Press-Sentinel.

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