When one person handles all aspects of the collection and distribution of certain federal funding, that person is likely going to be the prime target when the money does not add up. Working without oversight may place one in a vulnerable position and open him or her to serious accusations. One Mississippi man is now facing federal charges stemming from missing funds the man is accused of embezzling.
The state issued a demand letter for over $1 million, seeking the return of funds the government believes the man stole from the county housing authority where he worked. The amount includes $765,000 in missing funds and nearly the same amount in interest and other fees related to the complex investigation. The funds represent about 80% of the total amount the housing authority requested for home repairs for local residents.
What the investigation uncovered
Authorities believe the man acted alone, using his capacity as executive director of the housing authority to allegedly perpetrate the embezzlement. He was responsible for accepting applications from low–income residents whose homes were badly in need of repair. Allegedly, he would hire contractors to do the work then submit a bill for payment of those contractors to the board of supervisors. Investigators claim only about 20% of that money went to the contractors.
State auditors noticed discrepancies, triggering an investigation that likely involved intense forensic examination and other methods. The man turned himself in to authorities and now faces the possibility of 40 years in prison if convicted of the federal charges. He may also be ordered to pay as much as $45,000 in fines.