The chief magistrate judge in Pickens County, Georgia was arrested on January 29 on several theft and violation of oath charges.
Chief Magistrate Judge 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. Investigators said they discovered questionable spending activity on a credit card issued to Wigington.
An investigation by the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office discovered that Wigington took funds from a local nonprofit organization, where he served as treasurer, the sheriff office says. Wigington allegedly used those funds to pay off personal debts, CBS News reports.
Wigington is then accused of taking funds from the county’s magistrate office to reimburse the nonprofit in an attempt to remedy his theft. Pickens County Sheriff Donnie Craig contacted the Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office to discuss the investigation’s findings before requesting the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to assist with further investigation.
About 3:30 p.m. on January 29 the Georgia Bureau of Investigation executed a search warrant at Wigington’s office to gather further evidence for the case. The agency then obtained warrants for Wigington’s arrest.
Wigington 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.
GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles confirmed the agency’s involvement in the investigation but did not provide further details on the agency’s findings.
Judge is Former Cop
State elections records show that Wigington ran unopposed in recent elections as far back as 2012.
Prior to his appointment to the Magistrate Court, Wigington served for a number of years in law enforcement. With the Office of the Sheriff in Pickens County he attained and retired from the office at the rank of Chief Deputy Sheriff after service in each division and rank. Wigington also served as the Chief of Police for the City of Nelson, Georgia for five years.