Aiken authorities have found no probable cause to charge the wife of Aiken County Council Chairman Gary Bunker after investigating multiple allegations of identity theft.
Two incident reports, one in June 2019 and the other in September 2019, both filed in Richmond County, Georgia, named Michele Bunker as a suspect.
“The evidence we have obtained in this case has been presented to a magistrate and determined that probable cause does not exist at this time for an arrest,” Capt. Marty Sawyer, with the Aiken Department of Public Safety, said in an email sent to the Aiken Standard on Thursday.
The investigation began after two victims, identified in reports as employees of Augusta-based Hospice Service of GA, filed reports in Richmond County accusing Bunker of identity theft.
A report filed in June 2019 states a 50-year-old victim reported a representative of LifeLock, an identity theft protection firm, “informed him that an unknown person attempted to get a loan using his name and date of birth.”
The report further stated a previous incident occurred in February 2019, alerting the victim that someone using the victim’s name, date of birth and Social Security number tried to get a $7,500 loan through Best Egg, an online lending platform.
That unknown person “linked” Bunker’s checking account to the application, the report stated.
The second report, filed on Sept. 11, 2019, detailed an incident involving a 63-year-old female victim whose personal information was allegedly used to open a USAA bank account.
The USAA representative told the victim that Bunker had opened the account in July 2018 allegedly identifying herself as the victim’s sister, according to the report.
Bunker worked for Hospice Services of GA from Jan. 2, 2018, until May 5, 2019, where she served as the director of nursing for the firm.
Hospice Services of GA co-owner Christopher Rud told the Aiken Standard in September 2019 that Bunker had been fired.
Rud said the company put her “on leave with pay” after finding out about the allegations against her. Bunker was later “terminated,” he said, after she “violated” an agreement related to that suspension, according to earlier reporting by the Aiken Standard.
Richmond County investigators notified the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office of the reports after determining Bunker lived in Aiken.
The investigation was ultimately turned over to the Aiken Department of Public Safety.
Public Safety said the investigation will be closed as inactive unless new information is obtained.
“If we obtain new information or evidence, we will reopen the investigation,” Sawyer wrote.
When reached Thursday, Gary Bunker said he did not wish to comment on the matter at this time.