State Auditor Recovers Additional Money from Beef Plant Investigation

March 5, 2014

State Auditor Stacey Pickering recovered an additional $48,933.35 as part of the long-term investigation into the failed beef processors plant in Yalobusha County and presented the check to State Treasurer Lynn Fitch today.

Since 2004, $617,115.86 has been returned to the state as part of this investigation. Additionally, six individuals have either pled guilty or been convicted for their role in the beef processors plant.

“This investigation is nearly 10 years old now but we are continuing to pursue this case as long as we have a chance of recovering funds belonging to the taxpayers of Mississippi,” Pickering said.

“We are delighted to be able to restore these funds to the taxpayers of Mississippi,” Fitch said. “Greater oversight of programs supported by state funds will help prevent wasteful, unmonitored spending.”

House Bill 1318, which has passed the full House and yesterday cleared the Senate Accountability, Efficiency & Transparency committee, will give authority to the State Auditor’s Office to conduct performance and compliance audits of ongoing Economic Development programs. Such a program sponsored the beef processors endeavor.

“Currently, OSA only has authority to audit a very small number of these projects under the Mississippi Major Economic Impact Act, even though they all utilize taxpayer money,” Pickering added. “This is important legislation which will allow my Office to work with MDA to audit certain high risk programs and protect the taxpayers of Mississippi.”

Pickering also announced the recovery of funds from the investigation into Michael Walters, who was sentenced for money laundering in Hinds County in 2005.