With the recent rash of alleged misspending of public moneys, Mississippi state auditors have been busy lately. They recently announced the arrest of two employees of a local volunteer fire department. The two are facing charges of embezzlement after county officials noticed inconsistencies in the accounting of fire department funds. The officials notified state investigators about unexplained discrepancies between 2015 and 2019, and an investigation followed.
The fire chief and the fire department’s former secretary are now facing criminal charges for a total of $50,000 in missing money. Investigators say the chief used money from the fire department accounts to purchase lawn equipment and make a house payment. He received a demand letter for over $3,000.
In addition to the accusations against the chief, the former secretary of the fire department also received a demand letter from the state for more than $47,000. Investigators allege that she wrote over 100 checks to herself from the fire department bank account over the past four years. Reports do not indicate how officials believe the woman used the money.
The chief and the former secretary surrendered to authorities and were taken into custody. While the amount of money the chief is accused of embezzling is much lower than the amount the secretary allegedly diverted, both are facing serious consequences. If convicted of embezzlement, the two may serve as long as 20 years in prison and pay thousands of dollars in fines. Since neither were covered by surety bonds, they will be responsible for the stolen funds if a court convicts them.