Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Animal Health Board Employee Accused of Embezzlement

State Auditor Shad White issued the following press release.


Today Special Agents from the Office of State Auditor Shad White delivered a demand for alleged embezzlement to Chris Smith, former Director of Accounting and Finance at the Mississippi Board of Animal Health. The demand is for $33,892.54 and includes interest and investigative costs.

During a routine compliance audit of the Board of Animal Health, an auditor discovered irregularities in several transactions. Smith originally ignored requests for documentation to explain the questioned expenses, but he later admitted to using public funds to pay personal C-Spire, DirecTV, Entergy, and Atmos bills using a government procurement card. From April 2015 to July 2018, Smith allegedly embezzled $24,946.39.

In his role as Director of Accounting and Finance, which he held from 1999 to 2018, Smith performed all transactions for the Board without direct supervision. This allowed him to have unlimited access to procurement cards and the ability to submit purchase and payment records to the state accounting system.

Auditor White said, "What happened here should serve as a reminder to all of us in state government that we cannot allow one employee to have too much control over purchasing. Responsibilities related to purchasing need to be divided up to prevent this sort of embezzlement from happening.”

The case will be delivered to the office of the District Attorney for the 7th District, Robert Shuler Smith, to pursue an indictment. Chris Smith could face up to 20 years in prison or $5,000 in fines if convicted for embezzlement. He is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

“I commend both our compliance audit team and our investigators for identifying the problem and obtaining a confession here,” said White. “This case is an example of how the auditors and law enforcement officers in my office can work together to stop theft and save taxpayer dollars.”

Fraud and embezzlement can be reported to the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor online any time by clicking the red button at the top-right corner of the Auditor’s website or via telephone during normal business hours at 1-(800)-321-1275.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Who hired this guy?

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work Shad. You are a breath of fresh air for Mississippi. The only problem I see is that you are doing such a good job, that no one will vote for you to move up the ladder. If Mississippi is going to move from the bottom, we need more people like you.

Anonymous said...

Was a believer in superboy Shad at first, but it's clear he's just going to go after low-hanging fruit. There are WHALES of fraud going on in the biggest budget categories in the state, but he's already been told..."Don't even think about it." Why do you think Stacey Pickering baled out so suddenly? If Shad White doesn't take down the big guns, he's just one of them.

Anonymous said...

There is an epidemic of this going on in government. People never learn from history.

Anonymous said...

If the pays the fine in full immediately, will he not be charged?

Frank Griffin said...

2:44, I'm sure Shad White would love to get any information you have about all this massive fraud you're talking about. You don't know shit from apple butter about what he has in the pipeline. Apart from that, I'm more than happy that a public servant who stole over $30,000 has been found out. Such amounts add up.

Anonymous said...

@4:12 2:44 here.....I left open the possibility that he might prevail with the gigantic fraud cases that might make Lamar Adams' looting look like pocket change....so no, we don't know what's in his "pipeline", but he had better do some SERIOUS digging and expose all his Oxford plantation buddies, or he. is. one. of. them. Time will tell.

Anonymous said...

Pipeline? Either the last auditor was lazy or they were instructed by Frontier Strategies to leave plenty in the pipeline for the next guy. You know that's who calls the shots in such departments. Shad is still looking for his retainer case. All these busts were in the works many many months ago.

Anonymous said...

Please enlighten us superboy 2:44. Tell us where the WHALES are. Who are they? Please tell.

Anonymous said...

Another prime example of why PERS accounts need to be vulnerable to wrongdoing.

If an incident like this occurs, the amount embezzled should be doubled, or tripled and removed from the account balance. Plus, no access to the retirement benefits until 65 and a revised W-2 sent to the IRS on the original stolen amount.

Take His Watch And Chain.. said...

9:14; You're the same kind of idiot who believes 'asset forfeiture' is a good thing. So, if you're speeding down the highway at night, with your lights off, and two weed-doobies in your console and nineteen thou in cash, it's fine for the Po Po to help themselves to that money. This is not Mexico.

The state has no right to seize assets for punishment of a crime. And PERS accounts are assets. As unsavory as it may sound for a convicted criminal to have a retirement account, it's still simply one of his assets. The state nor anybody else (other than the IRS or Medicaid) has a right to claw it back.

Anonymous said...

Somebody give Shadrack a map to Madison County.

Anonymous said...

@8:46 The biggest whale is....Education. One. Big. Ocean. of. Fraud. What's actually happening on the ground, is NOT what's being reported to the state....or the feds....and all you'll hear in the media is how successful all the school districts are. Ask any teacher, but most will clam up for fear of losing their job for telling the truth. Billions flow through the narrative of "more money for education" but only pennies translate to actual education. Chronic absenteeism is ignored while the taxpayers are fleeced daily....fat salaries are bolstered even more for do-nothing administrators, unnecessary buildings/facilities are built, deals made for side perks, pension contributions illegally fattened the last few years of career agency politicians....we'll see if Shad has the balls. More likely - He's. One. of. Them.

Anonymous said...

If 2:44 knows about “massive fraud” and doesn’t share that information with law enforcement, he is a co-conspirator. But more likely, he’s just talking out of his ass.

Anonymous said...

10:32

I can grasp your mindset of "PERS accounts are assets". Now, maybe you can grasp this:

The PERS accounts only exist because a state employee is a state employee which by default, (probably a tough concept for you), includes a substantial tax payer contribution, an employee contribution plus a return on the combined monies.

So, I am 100% in favor of providing a disincentive for wrongdoing, ie, theft, stealing,embezzlement and much more mischief by telling all state employees if you get caught, we're gonna bust your ass and your retirement account. In other words NO STEALING !

If we want to stop the bullshit going on all over this state, put this into effect and watch how quick these employees will straighten up and fly right.

Anonymous said...

9:31 - I was waiting for that comeback, as flawed as it is. Consider this: It matters now one whit what you think or what you are 100% in favor of or what you'd like to see.

1) The law is what it is.
2) You're a dunce.

People who plan to steal shit know full well they are risking their freedom, their marriage, their house, association with their children and their ability to smell fresh air. Does that stop them from stealing? Oh, wait! If they consider those things they'll 'straighten up and fly right'.

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