CONTACT: Lisa H. Shoemaker (601) 576-2641 or (601) 613-8518
Laney Grantham (601) 576-2641 or (601) 668-3483
DATE: October 25, 2011
Two Former Clerks for City of Belzoni Indicted for Embezzlement
(Jackson, Miss.) - State Auditor Stacey Pickering announced today that Tequilla Henderson and Ruby Jones have been indicted and arraigned on charges of embezzlement following an investigation by the State Auditor’s Office. Humphreys County grand jury indicted the individuals on October 4, 2011. Henderson is charged with one count of embezzlement and one count of destruction of evidence. Jones is charged with two counts of embezzlement. Bond was set at $1,000 each following arraignment earlier today.
“These two individuals worked in areas of local government that handle a significant amount of cash and work with numerous transactions daily,” said State Auditor Stacey Pickering. “To protect against embezzlement, it is important that these individuals are monitored closely and that the local government has the proper internal controls to protect against theft. These two cases are good examples of having the proper procedures in place and being able to notice unusual activity before it is too late.”
Tequilla Henderson was employed by the City of Belzoni in the Water Department as a clerk. It is alleged that Henderson embezzled from the city by collecting water meter deposits, deleting records from the computer system and not posting the deposit payment to the customer’s account from August 2010 through November 2010. Henderson, 30 of Belzoni, resigned from the position on November 12, 2010. During this time, Agents determined that $1,000 was embezzled. Henderson repaid $1,024 in February 2011 which includes interest on the principal amount. Henderson will face trial in March 1, 2012.
Ruby Jones was employed by the City of Belzoni in the Water Department as a clerk. It is alleged that Jones embezzled funds by collecting water payments and by making unauthorized adjustments to the customer accounts when the customer paid the bill in full and taking the difference. Jones also received cash payments for property taxes and did not deposit the cash received in the City of Belzoni’s account but converted the money to personal use. From May 2009 through September 2009, it has been determined that a total of $936 was stolen from the City of Belzoni. In addition, Jones owes $115.30 for interest and an additional $500 in investigative cost bringing the total owed to the City of Belzoni to $1,551.30. Jones, 55 of Isola, was terminated on August 18, 2009. Jones trial date was set for February 29, 2012.
Elected as Mississippi’s State Auditor in 2007, Stacey Pickering has recovered more than $4.8 million in embezzled, misspent or misappropriated funds. He is a seventh generation Mississippian from Jones County. Auditor Pickering currently serves on the Domestic Working Group for the Office of the Comptroller General of the United States. He also serves on the Financial Management and Intergovernmental Affairs and Performance Audit Committees for the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers and is a member of the National State Auditors Association. Prior to serving as State Auditor, Pickering served as a State Senator from 2004-2007 representing Jones County and is credited for co-authoring legislation allowing Mississippi to end lawsuit abuse. Throughout his political career, Pickering has made tremendous strides in creating more accountability and transparency in government and continues to promote fiscal responsibility and the need for more efficiency and productivity in government. For more information on Stacey Pickering, visit www.osa.state.ms.us/auditors-bio.htm.