ATLANTA, GA – Attorney General Chris Carr today announced that former Pickens County School Superintendent Carlton Wilson and his wife, Cindy Wilson, have pleaded guilty to one count each of Racketeering and Theft by Taking. Separately, Carlton Wilson has also pleaded guilty to six additional counts of Theft by Taking by a Fiduciary, Theft by Deception, and Theft by Conversion. The charges stem from Mr. Wilson’s engagement in various schemes intended to illegally obtain funds for personal use. Cindy Wilson also participated in one of these schemes.
“Carlton and Cindy Wilson stole thousands of dollars from hardworking Georgians, and now they are facing the consequences of their illegal actions,” said Carr. “This is a complex case that spans several years and involves multiple acts of theft, including the unlawful collection of taxpayer funds. This conviction is a major victory for all those who fell victim to the couple’s fraudulent and deceptive tactics, and we are proud to have worked with our local partners to put a stop to their criminal schemes.”
This case was prosecuted by Deputy Attorney General John Fowler and investigated by the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office.
“Our detectives and prosecutors with the Attorney General's Office worked hundreds of hours analyzing financial records and interviewing dozens of witnesses in an effort to bring this case to a close and provide restitution to our victims of this racketeering enterprise,” said Pickens County Sheriff Donnie Craig. “I would like to thank Attorney General Chris Carr and his staff for their continued partnership with the Pickens Sheriff's Office and our community."
Carlton Wilson is a former teacher, school principal, magistrate judge, school superintendent and victim advocacy director for the District Attorney’s Office. He and his wife, along with two other partners, also own and operate a private company in Jasper, Georgia.
In 2009, a private land owner generously donated 10 acres of land to a Boy Scouts Troop in Pickens County. Carlton Wilson was active with the Boy Scouts and exercised control over the land through his Boy Scouts association. Years later, despite the land having been donated to the Boy Scouts, Carlton Wilson sold the property and kept $26,420 instead of giving it to the Troop. He subsequently spent that money on personal expenses over a four-month period in late 2021.
In 2021 and 2022, Carlton Wilson was employed at the District Attorney’s Office in the victim advocacy department. After a serious physical injury, he exhausted the balance of his paid sick leave and certified that he was still unable to work. As a result, Pickens County permitted him to draw from a bank of county employee-donated hours. Yet, during this same time period, Carlton Wilson was actively working at a private business that had the same physical requirement. In total, he unlawfully collected more than $6,000 in donated leave from the Pickens County Government.
Between March 2017 and February 2022, both Carlton and Cindy Wilson embezzled funds from the private business they shared with two other partners. In total, the Wilsons wrote checks totaling $79,069.24 from the company and deposited them into their personal account. Additionally, the pair redirected $24,398.24 in company revenue from a vendor to their personal account. They also took $42,800 in cash from the company.
Carlton and Cindy Wilson pleaded guilty on Nov. 30, 2022. Sentencing will be imposed at a later date.