JACKSON- State Auditor Stacey Pickering announced today that former Union County Coroner Mark Golding pled guilty to a Bill of Information and was sentenced earlier this morning at the Tippah County Courthouse.
Golding pled guilty to two counts of fraud by a public official and was sentenced to five years for each count. For each count, three years will be suspended. He will serve a total of four years in the custody of the Department of Corrections.
The State Auditor’s Office’s investigation of Golding determined he submitted false claims totaling $276,591.56 to the Union County Board of Supervisors. Golding requested fees and was paid for deaths he did not investigate. On September 12, 2013 the State Auditor’s Office served a demand to Golding in the amount of $398,418.83, which included the principal amount, interest, and investigative costs. Golding will be required to pay restitution in the amount of $363,484.93 to the Union County General Fund and $34,933.90 to the State Auditor’s Office.
He will also forfeit all interest in his Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) account and his retirement will be frozen until further notice by the court.
“This is an example of multiple parties, including our auditors, investigators, and the District Attorney, working together to reach this plea,” State Auditor Stacey Pickering said. “My Office will continue to hold elected officials accountable for their actions and protect the taxpayers of Mississippi.”
This year the state legislature passed Senate Bill 2625, with the support of the State Auditor’s Office, which prohibits an individual who has been convicted or pled guilty to stealing public funds in the state of Mississippi from being employed by the state or any county, municipality or any other political subdivision.
“This is the first case where a former public official will be subjected to Senate Bill 2625,” Auditor Pickering added. “Under the new law, Golding will not be able to work for any governmental agency or subdivision in Mississippi again.”