A local grand jury indictment for a former emergency manager for a Mississippi county ended in arrest. The state auditor announced that agents charged the former energy manager with fraud and embezzlement. Investigators gave him a $17,063 repayment demand, which includes interest and investigation costs.
Fraud and embezzlement are serious criminal offenses with lifelong consequences. The state auditor’s office has a zero-tolerance approach to any statewide fraud.
The accusations of the former emergency manager for a Mississippi county originated in Covington County. He resigned from his position during the investigation. A longtime Jones County sheriff’s department deputy replaced him. The former emergency manager was accused of submitting fake invoices for work that never happened. The county paid the invoices with checks, not realizing they were fake. The former emergency manager reportedly pocketed the money and used it for his own purposes.
Investigators found other accounts of fraud and embezzlement during the investigation. On top of creating fake invoices for work, he reportedly submitted invalid timesheets; the hours that employees were working didn’t match what the timesheets said. The former energy manager allegedly approved the timesheets knowing they were wrong. The office of the District Attorney is prosecuting the case. A conviction could result in a $15,000 fine and up to 15 years in prison.
In Mississippi, embezzlement is treated the same as theft of property when it comes to prosecuting crimes. Stolen goods valued at $1,000 or more count as embezzlement, and an embezzlement of public funds charge is a felony. Anyone who has been charged with theft needs to prepare a defense if they want to avoid the harsh penalties of a conviction.