Rotary learns about auditor’s office
Published 7:00 am Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Tuesday, Francis Farmer with the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor spoke to the Rotary Club of Picayune about their office’s efforts to curb public corruption in Mississippi.
In 2007, Stacey Pickering was elected as the state’s auditor and since that time, his office has recovered more than $25 million in misspent taxpayer money, Farmer said.
“Mississippi doesn’t have the highest corruption rate, but rather the auditor’s office is the best at catching and prosecuting criminals,” he said. “We’re watching your money.”
During his presentation, Farmer discussed recent cases involving corrupt politicians and misspent tax dollars.
Greg Davis, former mayor of Southaven, charged hundreds of thousands of dollars to city credit cards for personal expense items and counseling services.
Mark Golding, former Union City coroner, was charged with making false claims for deaths. The discrepancies were discovered during an annual audit, Farmer said.
Lowndes County Supervisor James Terry was charged with embezzlement and also used his county vehicle to travel to the casino, Farmer said.
In Alcorn County, several vendors, the county purchase clerk and a member of the board of supervisors were charged with false representation and defrauding the government. The Alcorn County Sheriff’s Department and Alcorn County jail were also investigated, where it was discovered that prisoners had access to keys to the prison and clothes to leave the facility, Farmer said. During the search, investigators found marijuana, cell phones and bags of money, he added.
“I’m amazed people steal and think they won’t get caught,” he said. “There is so much paperwork. Many of our investigators are ex-law enforcement. It’s amazing what we find when people call us and ask us to investigate a claim.”