An Horry County Grand Jury indicted the former CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of the Grand Strand this month, accusing her of embezzling more than $100,000 from the organization.

Dione Eban Buonto is charged with six counts of breach of trust with fraudulent intent, S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson announced Wednesday.

The indictments state that Buonto used the club's money to pay for hair and beauty products, moving expenses, home décor and personal travel, including airfare, car rentals and meals for herself, family and friends.

She used the organization's credit card to purchase books and make tuition payments for her son to attend the College of Charleston, according to the indictments, and she wrote bonus checks for over $26,000 to herself without the board's approval.

The embezzlement happened between December 2014 and January 2020, according to the S.C. Attorney General's Office.

Three of the charges are breach of trust with fraudulent intent in excess of $10,000, a felony that can carry up to 10 years in prison and a fine, according to the AG's office. The other three charges are breach of trust with fraudulent intent in excess of $2,000, another felony that can carry up to five years in prison and a fine.

The Myrtle Beach Police Department initially investigated the case, but the investigation was turned over to the State Law Enforcement Division on Sept. 30 at the request of MBPD, according to SLED spokesman Tommy Crosby. 

The attorney general's office is prosecuting the case.

In response to the indictments, Conway attorney Anita Floyd Lee released a statement on behalf of the organization's board thanking the club's supporters for "standing by the Boys and Girls Club during this difficult time."

The statement described how the board had learned from this experience and installed internal controls to prevent the same problems from happening again. The board apologized for its failings and maintained that local authorities were notified as soon as the organization's leaders became aware of "fiscal inaccuracies."

"The past 17 months have been an experience that no organization should ever have to endure," the board stated. "As is the case with most Boards, we depended upon staff to manage the day-to-day operations of the Club, and it appears as though we relied upon an individual who used the resources of the Boys and Girls Club for her personal expenses, gains, and pleasure." 

The organization is now led by director Tracy Bailey and the board expressed confidence in her work.

"With the assistance of her and our team members, we believe the Boys and Girls Club will flourish, and will once again make this community proud," the board stated.

Contact Charles D. Perry at 843-488-7236

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I'm the editor of myhorrynews.com and the Carolina Forest Chronicle, a weekly newspaper in Horry County, South Carolina. I cover county government, the justice system and agriculture. Know of a story that needs to be covered? Call me at 843-488-7236.

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