This AP story almost got away from me. State Auditor Stacey Pickering told the Associated Press on February 27 that Harrison County Supervisor Lawrence Martin (deceased) was a target in the MDOC investigation:
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi's state auditor says an indicted county official who committed suicide had been targeted in a prison corruption case, and he is predicting that more charges are to come.Mr. Martin was indicted by the U.S. Attorney for bribery and witness tampering (obstruction of justice). He was supposed to be arraigned on February 26 but committed suicide. JJ reported on February 27:
State Auditor Stacey Pickering says Harrison County Supervisor William Martin's indictment had been "the next step" in the corruption investigation that began with former Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps and Brandon businessman Cecil McCrory.
Authorities say Martin killed himself before dawn Thursday, hours before his scheduled arraignment on federal charges of bribery and witness tampering. He had been indicted last week.
Pickering says he expects more people will face charges in the inquiry.
Epps and McCrory pleaded guilty Wednesday to a bribery scheme where McCrory channeled $1.5 million in cash to Epps as Epps awarded contracts to McCrory and companies he represented.
A company that was a prime beneficiary of MDOC's no-bid contract policy under Chris Epps also landed a lucrative contract with Harrison County for providing medical services to its inmates. MDOC paid Health Assurance, LLC more than $49 million for medical services to MDOC prisons from 2003 to 2014 while Harrison paid more than $14 million. Incredibly, the dates of the payments coincide with dates cited by prosecutors for when now-deceased Harrison County Supervisor William Martin accepted bribes in his indictment.....
The Martin indictment states:
That from on or about January 2005 through on or about August 2012, in Harrison County, in the Southern Division of the Southern District of Mississippi and elsewhere, that the defendant, William Martin, did corruptly solicit, demand, accept, and agree to accept multiple things of value from a person, intending to be influenced and rewarded in connection with a transaction and series of transactions of Harrison County, involving a thing of value of $5,000 or more.This time period just happens to be the exact same time period when Harrison County made payments to Health Assurance financial. Sources on the Gulf Coast told JJ that State Auditor representatives copied records regarding medical contracts for Harrison County as well as travel and other records for Mr. Martin.
February 27 post on contracts and bribery allegations
February 26 post with copy of indictment.