Graham guilty of embezzlement, sentenced as habitual offender

Photo: Roland Graham (Courtesy photo)

State Auditor Shad White announced Thursday that Roland Graham has pleaded guilty to embezzlement and conspiracy charges in Jones County earlier this week. A guilty plea and sentencing order for his co-conspirator, Larry Barnes, were recorded earlier this year in January. Both cases were prosecuted by the Jones County District Attorney’s office in Judge Dal Williamson’s courtroom.

Graham is a former Jones County Road Department foreman. Special Agents from the Auditor’s office arrested him in July 2020. Graham used Jones County equipment and personnel to perform demolition work for a private contractor. Graham also directed disposal fees from the demolition work be billed to Jones County.

“We will continue to ensure that taxpayer resources are only used for the benefit of the taxpayer,” said Auditor White. “Thank you to the investigators and prosecutors who worked this case diligently.”

Judge Williamson sentenced Graham to eight years in the custody of Mississippi Department of Corrections.  Due to Graham’s status as a habitual offender, he will serve 30 months of the sentence day for day in prison, and the remaining time will be spent in post-release supervision.  Graham was also ordered to pay full restitution, a $3,000 fine, and all court costs associated with the embezzlement and conspiracy charges. Graham also pleaded guilty and was sentenced for an additional, unrelated criminal charge during his appearance in court this week.

The State Auditor’s office has already recovered $14,139.90 in this case. That money has been returned to the appropriate deserving entities.

Suspected fraud can be reported to the Auditor’s office online at any time by clicking the red button at www.osa.ms.gov or via telephone during normal business hours at 1-(800)-321-1275.

Bob Bakken

Bob Bakken is the most recognized and most trusted name in DeSoto County news and sports reporting, as readers continue to express their appreciation for his accuracy and fairness in the stories he writes. Bob provides content for DeSoto County News and occasionally is heard on the OB Pod podcast talking about area happenings. A former newspaper editor and writer, his award-winning background also includes television news producing, sports media relations, and radio broadcasting.

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