Monday, June 3, 2019

Coahoma Crooks Caught

State Auditor Shad White issued the following statement.


Today State Auditor Shad White announced Special Agents from the Auditor’s office have made arrests in two separate cases after a grand jury assembled by District Attorney for the 11th District Brenda Mitchell indicted Gwendolyn Jefferson, Stacie Neal, and Kappi Allen. The total amount of demands issued among the three is over $1.1 million.



“I’m thankful for District Attorney Mitchell’s willingness to handle these cases. This kind of public corruption has to stop in Coahoma County, and we will work together with the DA to bring these three to justice,” said Auditor White.



Coahoma Community College



In September 2018 Special Agents from the Auditor’s office delivered the largest demand for suspected embezzlement in five years—$981,600.64—to two former Coahoma Community College employees, Gwendolyn Jefferson and Stacie Neal. Now, both have been arrested after being indicted for embezzlement and conspiracy. Stacie Neal was also indicted for making false representations used to defraud a government entity.



Jefferson and Neal are accused making personal purchases worth over $750,000 using credit cards and checks belonging to Coahoma Community College from January 2013 to September 2017. They allegedly purchased gift cards, shoes, watches, a chandelier, and many other consumables with public funds. The scheme was discovered by a college official when Jefferson and Neal forgot to conceal a purchase record.



“The case involving the two former employees of Coahoma Community College is alarming not only because of the size of the embezzlement, which was massive, but also because of the victims. Taxpayers, students, and an entire community lost the benefit of hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said White. “We need to send the signal around the state that this kind of a loss is not acceptable and perpetrators will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the 
 law.”





The employment of neither Jefferson nor Neal was covered by a surety bond, which is similar to insurance designed to protect the taxpayers in instances like this. In addition to facing criminal charges, both will remain personally liable for the full amount of the demand.



If convicted, Jefferson faces up to 25 years in prison and $25,000 in fines, and Neal could face up to 30 years in prison and $35,000 in fines.



Coahoma Tourism Commission



Kappi Allen is accused of embezzling over $90,000 while she was Executive Director of the Coahoma Tourism Commission. From October 2014 to January 2018, Allen allegedly used a public procurement card to pay for a vision appointment and glasses and buy merchandise from retailers like Target, Steinmart, Trunk Club, and Disney World. Investigators identified over $36,000 in personal purchases allegedly made by Allen.



Allen is also accused of issuing unapproved payroll checks to herself. Because accounting duties for the Coahoma Tourism Commission were not properly separated, Allen maintained complete authority over expenditures at the commission while she was executive director. Investigators identified unapproved checks worth nearly $57,000 allegedly made payable to Allen.



“Use of public money on personal purchases like this shows there are still people who fail to grasp that there are victims when you steal public money,” said White. “These are not victimless crimes, and we work in the Auditor’s office every day with that in mind.”



Upon arrest, a demand letter worth $142,524.35 was delivered to Allen. All accrued interest and investigative costs are included in the total demand amount.



Allen’s employment at the Coahoma Tourism Commission was not covered by a surety bond. In addition to facing criminal charges, she will remain personally liable for the entire amount of the demand.



If convicted, Allen faces up to 20 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.



All persons arrested by the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Both cases will be prosecuted by the office of District Attorney Brenda Mitchell.



Suspected fraud can be reported to the Auditor’s office online any time by clicking the red button at www.osa.ms.gov or via telephone during normal business hours at 1-(800)-321-1275.



20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ya got a lot more community colleges and universities to cover Shad.....and you ain't seen nothin' yet.

Anonymous said...

No wonder we need more money for education

Anonymous said...

How does two employees of a relatively small organization steal a million dollars and huge red flags not be raised? In a supposedly cash strapped school. Sounds as if some executive types should be booted.

Anonymous said...

WTF are they employees being given credit cards?

Go Mr. Shad! Lock 'em up.

Anonymous said...

The state auditor needs to take a look at the CITY OF COLUMBUS now along with the CVB (Columbus Tourism Bureau). Former employees have noted that the director of the CVB uses the car and credit cards for personal use. Mayor Robert Smith hires mostly his kin folks and closest friends to work in all the offices. Guess what, they are almost 1 million over budget for last year. Something fishy going on in those books.

Anonymous said...

“Coahoma Tourism Commission”

lol

Anonymous said...

MUGSHOTS!

https://www.wlbt.com/2019/06/03/state-auditor-issues-over-million-demands-arrests-three-coahoma-co/

Anonymous said...

Hidden at the bottom of the 1500 word text:
All persons arrested by the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Both cases will be prosecuted by the office of District Attorney Brenda Mitchell.

Anonymous said...

You're right to mention that, 10:16. It's entirely possible, in all three cases, that these multiple uses of credit cards was entirely accidental...especially the ones for Disney World, eye glasses and shopping trips to Target.

"Oh, wait!...I meant to use my personal card for those over the years and signed off on them and paid the card bills using my signature authority at the school and the tourism board completely by mistake. I should have written personal checks to pay those bills."

Anonymous said...

Who was the last state auditor, and more importantly, what did he do?

Anonymous said...

Ok White! We get it. You can arrest criminals with IQs right at room temperature. Now, can you do anything about a LT Gov that uses millions of taxpayer dollars to pave a driveway into his neighborhood? I didn’t think so....

Anonymous said...

Never came to fruition 6:34. But you don't keep up, do you?

Anonymous said...

Stacey Pickering was the last State Auditor....and the good Reverend is NOT a holy man.....he knowingly looked the other way in regards to EVERY agency. Shad White hasn't even scratched the surface yet......Attorney General Jim Hood is just as guilty in looking the other way, that's why no one has done anything about the corruption in the legislature (hence no proceedings into Tater Reeve's malfeasance). There is no law enforcement for the "connected".....their mantra regarding following the law is, "Rules are for thee, not for me. Poor people can just suck it."

Anonymous said...

Heads up Jackson! You are next!

Theca Jones of the Roguish Gent Podcast said...

Again, holler at me when he goes at the Mississippi State Fair Commission.

Anonymous said...

Ten years after Governor Pheel was State Auditor what's the readout on the job he did?

Anonymous said...

I'll be impressed if he even looks at Canton and the crooks doing this daily. Wonder where he stands with Hood who kissing up to the Blackmon's? May be under the spell.

Anonymous said...

Damn I would rather see an ad for Jill Ford than Shad "dualing banjos" White.

Anonymous said...

So the taxpayers are out $1,100,000.00 and now the taxpayers get to pay $159,000.00 annually to incarcerate these three.

If staff auditors would do their jobs none of this would happen.

Anonymous said...

@9:04 Good point. They should liquidate their estates to cover any state costs.

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