Thursday, September 26, 2019

2nd MDOT Employee Arrested for Embezzlement

Attorney General Jim Hood issued the following statement. 

A former employee of the Mississippi Department of Transportation was booked into the Hinds County jail following an indictment charging him with embezzlement, announced Attorney General Jim Hood. 

Jarrod Wayne Ravencraft, 49, of Jackson, turned himself in to authorities Wednesday following his indictment by a Hinds County grand jury on one count of embezzlement. Ravencraft is accused of converting to his own use more than $10,000 in gift cards between June 2017 through March 2018 while employed by the Mississippi Department of Transportation. The gift cards were the property of the department.

If convicted, Ravencraft faces up to 20 years in prison. A charge is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case was investigated by Larry Ware of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division. Assistant Attorney General Stanley Alexander will handle prosecution.


Anonymous said...

A quick background investigation of Ravencraft would show a history of bad behavior. Including a very similar incident while working for the MS health care association. Lots of jobs and they don’t seem to last long. Anyone know if Mississippi College has commented? I am sure they aren’t too happy with the press. He appears to be an instructor there.

And why does MDOT have thousands of dollars in gift cards lying around?

Anonymous said...

Maybe if the MS Attorney General was up for election every year, the citizens of MS could see some effort to clean up government corruption. How about an elected official or two?

Anonymous said...

Why does MDOT even have “Gift” cards. What are they usually used for?

Anonymous said...

Pray tell why MDOT has gift cards

Anonymous said...

Why does MDOT have $10,000 in gift cards?

Anonymous said...

Serious question, why did MDOT have these gift cards? Was it for an employee recognition program or similar? Anything else would be kind of hard to explain/justify.

Anonymous said...

Anybody wonder why MDOT had over $10,000 in gift cards and what they were supposed to be used for?Maybe there is a bigger story here.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone understand why the MDOT has gift cards at all?

Anonymous said...

Please allow me to pile on....why the hell does MDOT have this much tied up in gift cards?

Anonymous said...

What’s a gift card?

Asking for a hoo... I meant friend.

Anonymous said...

If little ole Jarrod Wayne made off with only $10k before being caught, it makes you wonder what the TOTAL ##/$$ of gift-cards at MDOT.. and OTHER STATE AGENCIES WOULD BE...?!

bill said...

The gift cards were for teachers who completed some MDOT safety course. A hundred bucks a pop.

Anonymous said...

So, does that mean 1) the teachers were paid (by taxpayers) to attend, 2) MDOT was funded/paid (by taxpayers) to hold the course, and 3) the teachers were given a gift card (by taxpayers) as a reward for their attendance?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Fish, you might ask MDOT for the paper trail showing where the gift cards were purchased. You might get an interesting answer or maybe not. Follow the money.

Anonymous said...

How many teachers got this unreported income and how many of them reported it? That’s the only reason you dole out gift cards.

Anonymous said...

Did the Mississippi Transportation Institute pay for the cards? This is a "non-profit" that was organized back in 2000. They have to file a 990 with the IRS. Although, not a state agency, it is operating out of the MDOT building @ 401 North West Street. This is where the road builders and other companies fund various activities, such as conventions, etc. About seven years years ago, the MDOT motor home was in a wreck on Highway 49 South on the way to a convention. MDOT law enforcement was quickly on the scene to remove the liquor and to continue down to the coast convention. Where is Shad White now? Google Mississippi Transportation Institute and see!

Anonymous said...

The gift cards were provided by a local advertising agency called the Godwin Group. My understading is that Ravencraft got rid of the agency MDOT was using, and hired Godwin, at which point gift cards starting appearing. I do not know what the gift cards were for.

Anonymous said...

MDOT needs to get its house in order before it asks for more money. HELLO MDOT! Priority one is spend your resources on your main mission -- build and maintain roadways. Priority two -- enforce the weight limit laws to prevent overweight vehicles from tearing up what you have built. The rest is fluff. Drop the fluff and then tell me how money you actually need and I'll support that effort, but not before you cut the cra and this includes slashing "public relations."

Anonymous said...

Seems like the girlfriend turned on him once she got arrested.

Anonymous said...

“I am thrilled to see Selena representing MDOT with this important recognition,” said MDOT Executive Director Melinda McGrath in a press release. “For someone that displays such strong professional character and commitment to the agency and state she serves, this recognition is well deserved.”

This aged well.

Anonymous said...

@2:52 p.m., arrestee #1 wasn't Jarrod's girlfriend. You obviously don't know him or you would have switched teams.

Anonymous said...

Wanna reform the state budget?? Start chasing all these small purchases down; the taxpayer is constantly abused by programs (or progrums for those of you in NE Mississippi) that do not comport with an agency's mission or are not authorized by legislation. If you chase down enough of these "small" progrums, it starts to turn into real money.

Cynical Sam said...

Did y'all hear that MDOT is going to lay off some highway workers? Yep, the Chinese recently invented a shovel that stands up by itself.

Anonymous said...

McGrath is an idiot. She is the one who invited TV crews to look under an unsafe bridge, and she conducted the tour, only to be told the next day that the bridge was already repaired and Mdot.

Best thing we could do is clean house at MDOT and start over.

Anonymous said...

" About seven years years ago, the MDOT motor home was in a wreck on Highway 49 South on the way to a convention. MDOT law enforcement was quickly on the scene to remove the liquor and to continue down to the coast convention."

I haven't heard that, but I'm not surprised. Was that same weekend their Executive Director Butch Brown got a public drunk after passing out on a Gulf Coast slot machine ?

And thanks to everyone for explaining the gift cards.
That was my first question I had when the story broke.

Lawd have Mercy, they scream louder than the teachers for more money.

Bridges are closed, highways are shit . . . and this agency has thousands of dollars in 'gift cards' to give out to god knows who ?

By all means, Shad White should be all over MDOT.

Anonymous said...

Are the gift cards there to help the two gals in Oxford several years ago buy their beer in an mdot truck

Anonymous said...

You want to stop this level of crime?

Real simple:
1) Mandatory prison time
2) Repay the taxpayers from the offenders PERS account
3) Fire the offender

These problems will end.

Anonymous said...

Well, after reading the questions all the way through, I understand that the gift cards came from Godwin Advertising. Anyone have any idea what size contract allows a vendor to offer that type of bonus? And, why does MDOT need to advertise. Are these the people responsible for the catchy phrases posted on I55 around Jackson like "smell the pumpkin spice"? And how much are we paying them?

Raise our gas tax and give gifts out? Smells funny to me.

Anonymous said...

What's that drunk's name from Natchez who used to have McGrath's job? The one who kept Hall from even having an office in the new building?

Dig deeper. Much deeper. The place is a snake pit of corruption. Much like the Department of Corrections.

Stuff About ZeroBear PolyBear said...

Can't you see the budget meeting discussion where this was submitted.

"Bubba wants to add $40,000.00 to the budget for gift cards."


"Because he can't cash in orange barrels."

"Oh … approved."

Anonymous said...

A state employee one time bragged to me and said they can do anything due to having no accountability. There is too much money being handled by non accountable employees and I do agree that the State Auditor should step in. So.....where is he?

Anonymous said...

I hope he's in Canton, 4:39.

Anonymous said...

9/26 1:50 pm and 4:23 pm - The motor home you're thinking of belonged to the Department of Public Safety (Highway Patrol) which is a separate public agency from MDOT. There's nothing illegal about buying the gift cards, but if there are so many questions about how they were purchased or why they were needed, why is Godwin still a vendor for MDOT? As for Ravencraft, I hope he finds out that you reap what you sow. He deserves to have the book thrown at him.

Anonymous said...

The anti-corruption laws are so absent in Mississippi, that I'm almost surprised this is illegal.

KF, I wish you'd do some research into the campaign finance laws and the loopholes, that allow " friends" of candidate to give them very large gifts that don't have to be reported and how candidates can " borrow" money from their campaign funds and business related organizations and their lobbyists can treat those in our government to resort vacations and lavish events or offer them " insider" information. In fact, in the CL records you could find where a past AG's rather large bank loan was entirely forgiven and also giving elected officials ridiculously favorable rates on loans is likely still a practice.

Anonymous said...

The motor home that was wrecked in Mendenhall belonged to MDOT Law Enforcement. The vehicle was being driven to a conference on the coast and had an accident at the light in front of Walmart on Hwy 49.

Anonymous said...

I think I went to MC with him.

Do we have a mugshot?

Anonymous said...

9:12 - You screwed up about which agency owned and was traveling in the motor home. But, you correctly stated 'there's nothing illegal about buying gift cards'. But, what IS illegal is purchasing them, having no accounting system, no tracking, no record of to whom they are awarded or why and the obvious impropriety of not being able to explain their presence or their absence.

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