Book-in photos/Pickens Sheriff’s Office
Former Pickens judge Allen Wigington and Rosemary Wigington.
On Thursday, Nov. 19th a Grand Jury indicted former Pickens’ chief magistrate judge Allen Wigington on 57 counts related to financial fraud and theft. Wigington’s wife Rosemary Wigington, a Pickens High School teacher, was arrested after the Grand Jury indicted her on two counts of Theft by Taking in the same case.
The financial crimes case against former judge Wigington, a 25-year employee of county government, began when he was originally arrested in January of this year. At that time he was charged with improper use of a county credit card and for writing checks from the magistrate court to cover money investigators say he stole as treasurer of the
Blaine Lodge. The case continued to expand over the next several months. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation executed a search warrant at Wigington's home in May and seized numerous items they say were illegally purchased with the county card.
According to the court document obtained from the Pickens County Courthouse, the Grand Jury indicted the former judge on 11 counts of Theft by Taking; 3 counts of Forgery in the Fourth Degree; 42 counts of Unauthorized Use of a Financial Transaction Card; and 1 count of Violation of Oath by Public Officer. The indictment means the Grand Jury found enough probable cause that crimes had been committed, that formal charges can be brought and the case can move forward. Next there will be an arraignment hearing where defendants will plead guilty or not guilty.
This case is being handled by the state attorney general’s office.
Among the 42 financial transaction fraud counts, all of which involved improper use of a Pickens County government credit card, five were related to goods and services purchased at Hilton or Hampton Inn hotels spanning from 2017 to 2019. The other counts, also involving the county credit card, are related to a wide variety of items alleged to be purchased illegally between 2017 and 2020. Items include an Apple iWatch, household goods such as faucets, a chandelier, a mattress, clothing, kitchen and bathroom items, toys, subscriptions to various services such as HBO and Kindle, and others.
Both Allen and Rosemary Wigington were listed together in two counts of Theft by Taking in the Grand Jury’s indictment. One of those counts alleges they were unlawfully in possession of less than $1,500 that belonged to a local attorney in January of 2020. The other alleges the defendants purchased a Microsoft Surface Pro from Costco in November 2018 and reimbursed the cost from the Pickens County Law Library, which was a breach of the former judge’s fiduciary obligation to the law library. According to court officials, one count of Theft by Taking is a misdemeanor, one is a felony.
Sheriff’s deputies went to interview Ms. Wigington at Pickens High School after Grand Jury proceedings Thursday, and after students were released from school that day. Following the interview, deputies took her to the Pickens Adult Detention Center. Ms. Wigington was arrested and booked-into the jail. Visiting Judge Tambra Colston set her bond at $50,000. She has since bonded out.