Guilty pleas in Coahoma college fraud scheme
Mississippi State Auditor Shad White has announced former Coahoma Community College employees Gwendolyn Jefferson and Stacie Neal were Monday, Feb. 6 each sentenced to serve five years in prison. Both women pleaded guilty to conspiracy and embezzlement. Neal also pleaded guilty to making fraudulent statements. Jefferson and Neal were both arrested in June 2019. The guilty pleas were recorded in Judge Charles E. Webster’s courtroom.
Jefferson and Neal made over $750,000 of personal purchases while using Coahoma Community College credit cards and checks. They purchased gift cards, shoes, watches, a chandelier, and other items with public funds from January 2013 to September 2017. The scheme was uncovered when Jefferson and Neal forgot to conceal a purchase record.
“The work done to hold these individuals accountable sends a message about the seriousness of stealing from the taxpayers,” said Auditor Shad White “If you steal from the people of Mississippi, there will be consequences.”
Neal and Jefferson are convicted of a felony and will never be able to handle public money again. Both women were ordered to repay hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution, which will be in addition to the $100,000 already returned to Coahoma County taxpayers. Judge Webster’s sentencing order will be filed with the Coahoma County Circuit Clerks’ Office.
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.