Corruption is so endemic to the business and political culture of Horry County that the public becomes inured. Because prosecutors and courts rarely have the guts to send white-collar criminals to jail, selling the public trust carries little risk and much opportunity.
When everything has a price and making a dollar is the highest human endeavor, even the schools are not safe. In 1995, Horry County school board Chairman Richard Heath and school Superintendent Gary Smith were indicted on charges of bid-rigging in connection with computer purchases and accepting gratuities from IBM. Charges were dropped against Smith in return for his resignation. In dropping charges against Heath, local prosecutor Ralph Wilson cited the high cost of going to trial and the “burden upon the citizens and taxpayers.”