A former deputy with the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office is charged with intentionally misleading county officials to receive over $2,000 in military pay benefits over a seven-month period, court documents show.
According to an indictment filed last Monday, Bryson Heath is charged with intentionally violating the terms of his oath as an officer of the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office by taking money he was not entitled to from the department’s military pay system.
The former officer was scheduled to attend drill sessions with the Georgia Army National Guard between August 2020 and March 21, according to his arrest warrant filed by Cherokee Sheriff’s Office. He was also scheduled to work in the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center on the same weekends as many of the drills. Heath did not attend any of the drill sessions, the warrant says, but was compensated by the sheriff’s office as part of the office’s military pay benefit system, which is designed to prevent “undue hardship” for actively serving veterans in the sheriff’s office.
The warrant says that Heath stayed home, attending neither the drills nor his post at the jail, and earned $2,486.54 from Aug. 7, 2020 to March 21, 2021.
Heath is charged with one count of theft by deception, and one count of violation of oath by public officer.
Capt. Jay Baker, Cherokee Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, said Tuesday Heath was suspended without pay on March 26 and resigned in lieu of termination March 31. Baker said he was arrested April 1 by the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, and bonded out that same day.