A former Newton County Development Services employee turned herself in to the Newton County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO) on June 17, according to a NCSO press release.
Carolyn Callwood, a former Development Services Impact Fee Coordinator from Conyers, was involved in an investigation after the NCSO was alerted by Newton County Development Services supervisors that an employee “appeared to have collected fees but failed to deposit the money,” the press release said. Callwood’s job was to collect business license and impact fees.
In 2012, Newton County hired Callwood to serve as an Impact Fee Coordinator in the Development Services department, where she collected business license and impact fees, according to a press release from the county. Development Services discovered last October through an internal audit that Callwood allegedly collected approximately $19,423 in fees from numerous customers, but failed to deposit the money. Development Services supervisors alerted the Newton County Sheriff’s Office of these findings.
Approximately 300 Newton County Business Licenses were issued, but no money was deposited in the county’s accounts, NSCO said. The transactions were examined by the investigators from the District Attorney’s Office and the NCSO Criminal Investigation Division.
The criminal investigation division then applied for and received a felony arrest warrant for Callwood, charging her with 174 counts of Theft by Receiving. According to the press release, the arrest warrant alleges that in 174 separate transactions between Jan. 1, 2013 and Oct. 20, 2015, Callwood collected approximately $19,423 in fees, but failed to deposit the funds.
County Manager Lloyd Kerr released a statement about the allegations, saying the county is taking them seriously.
Callwood resigned on Oct. 19, 2015. Following the investigation, she turned herself in to the NCSO last week and was released on bail.
Newton County remains committed to government transparency and fiscal responsibility, Kerr said, and will continue to cooperate with the NCSO, who conducted a thorough investigation of the allegations. Customers who paid business license and impact fees during Callwood’s tenure with the county remain unaffected and all business licenses that she issued are valid.