The penalties for embezzlement can be pretty steep. However, the accused may be facing life-changing implications when federal fraud charges are on the table. Mississippi workers whose pay derives from taxpayer money or other federal sources may be watching closely as the government addresses a situation involving overtime pay for police officers in another state.

The officers routinely earned overtime pay for working in the department’s secure evidence warehouse. After their regular shifts, officers could earn time and a half pay for purging warehouse inventory, destroying unused prescription drugs and other tasks. The overtime shifts lasted from 4 to 8 p.m. However, investigators claim that nine of the officers frequently left their overtime shifts early or did not arrive at all and still claimed the overtime hours on their time cards.

Timestamps on the warehouse alarm records allegedly reveal that for three years, officers regularly left the building earlier than their time cards claim, collecting more than $200,000 in overtime pay they supposedly did not earn. The officers now face numerous federal charges, including conspiracy and embezzlement of federal funds. If convicted, the officers, most of whom are retired now, may face penalties including hundreds of thousands in fines and the possibility of decades in federal prison.

Federal fraud charges often demand a complex and aggressive defense strategy. A conviction, even for a single count, may result in severe ramifications. It is wise for those in Mississippi to seek quality, experienced legal representation when facing such charges.