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Auditor arrests former Caledonia water department supervisor

JACKSON, Miss. – Monday State Auditor Shad White announced Special Agents from his office have arrested a former supervisor for the City of Caledonia water department, Barrett Baggett, after he was indicted for embezzlement. Baggett was issued a demand letter for $3,125.66 upon his arrest. Interest and investigative expenses are included in the demand amount.

Baggett is accused of personally charging contractors and construction companies for work he ordered on-the-clock city employees to perform. The investigation began when a construction contractor reported receiving a strange invoice from Baggett. Investigators also identified a construction site where they believe Baggett was preparing to continue his scheme.

“Using state resources for your personal benefit is illegal and wrong, regardless of the size of the loss,” said Auditor White. “I’m thankful for the work of our investigators and look forward to a speedy prosecution in this case.”

Baggett surrendered to Special Agents at the Lowndes County Courthouse in Columbus. His bond had not yet been set by the court at noon Monday.

If convicted, Baggett faces up to 20 years in prison and $5,000 in fines. All persons arrested by the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The case will be prosecuted by the office of District Attorney Scott Colom.

A $50,000 surety bond covers Baggett’s employment as at the water department in Caledonia. A surety bond is similar to insurance designed to protect taxpayers from corruption. Baggett will remain liable for the full amount of the demand in addition to criminal proceedings.