Accounting Exec in S.C. Commits Suicide Amid FBI Probe: Report

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Linda Cox, a former comptroller of First South Bank in Spartanburg, S.C., committed suicide after being questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation about missing funds at the bank, the Greenville News reported on Saturday.

Cox killed herself on April 15, one day after FBI agents interviewed her in connection with an embezzlement investigation, the paper said citing interviews and police reports. The FBI was looking into allegations that Cox had stolen $52,000 from the bank and $50,000 from a local nonprofit, it added.

The FBI's Columbia, S.C., office declined comment and to confirm or deny an investigation was ongoing, according to spokeswoman Denise Taiste. First South did not immediately respond to a requests for comment. Requests for police reports and coroner's records are pending.

The Greenville County Coroner told police "that it had been discovered that Linda Cox was being investigated for embezzlement from First South Bank," according to the police report obtained by the Greenville News. The deputy coroner "further advised that she [Cox] had found out Monday (4-14-14), the day before her death, that she was being investigated by the FBI for embezzlement from the golf club that she was involved with."

Cox died at home in Mauldin, S.C. The police ruled her death a suicide based on the wound and the pending investigation, the Greenville News reported.

Cox, 44, was comptroller at the $291 million-asset First South from 2004 through 2013. She had also been the treasurer and a director of First Tee of Greenville, a nonprofit that runs golfing programs for children.

Jamie Daniel, the executive director of First Tee of Greenville, told American Banker on Monday that the FBI had contacted his group earlier this month to investigate whether Cox had embezzled funds. He said the group is currently reviewing its financial records, but believes that the $50,000 figure cited in police reports may be high. He said he had not spoken with Cox about the investigation.

At the time of her death, Cox was vice president and senior accountant at CertusBank in Greenville, S.C. She joined the $1.7 billion-asset bank from First South last October. A CertusBank spokeswoman said she could not comment on whether the bank had been contacted as part of the FBI investigation.

The bank released a written statement saying "The CertusBank family extends its heartfelt condolences to the Cox family and all who loved Linda. Though she was at CertusBank for only a short time, we will always remember her beautiful smile and spirit."

Certus fired its top three executives this month after an American Banker story reported on internal operational problems, including unusual expenses and related-party transactions.

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