By Associated Press - Thursday, April 2, 2020

FLORENCE, S.C. (AP) - A deputy in South Carolina took money from illegal gamblers for five years to protect them from the law and kept feeding them information after the payments stopped, authorities said.

Former Florence County Sheriff’s Lt. Mark Edward Fuleihan was arrested Thursday, the state Attorney General’s Office said.

Fuleihan took the bribes from 2013 to 2017 to keep the gamblers out of trouble, according to an arrest warrant.

Then once the State Law Enforcement Division began investigating the gambling ring and public corruption, the warrants said Fuleihan stopped taking money but kept giving them information, according to the deputy’s cellphone records which included calls to the gamblers on days when state agents were planning action.

Fuleihan, 48, was a deputy in Florence County since 1995. Interim Sheriff William Barnes fired Fuleihan during the state investigation, prosecutors said.

Fuleihan is charged with violating the ethics act through bribery. He faces up to 10 years in prison and can no longer work for the public if convicted of the felony.

Records did not indicate if Fuleihan had a lawyer.

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