Former Heidelberg police officer, band director at Heidelberg High arrested

(Photo Source: Miss. Attorney General's Office)

HEIDELBERG, Miss. (WTOK) A former Heidelberg police officer and the band director at Heidelberg High School have been indicted and arrested on insurance fraud charges.

The Mississippi Attorney General's Office says officer Dezmond Cooley is accused of creating and altering a crash report to assist that driver in receiving insurance benefits after the crash. That driver is Elbert Benton, the band director at Heidelberg.

The indictment states that the accident happened on January 19, 2018, when Benton was not insured. Cooley altered the report to falsely reflect that the crash happened on February 11, 2018, after Benton obtained insurance coverage on the vehicle involved.

The two men were arrested Tuesday and booked into the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department. Benton is charged with one count of insurance fraud and one count of conspiracy and face up to 8 years in prison. Cooley is charged with one count of conspiracy and one count of alteration of record and faces up to 15 years in prison.

The case was investigated by Justin Harris and will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Brad Oberhousen, both with the AG’s Insurance Integrity Enforcement Bureau.


Elbert Benton (Photo Source: Miss. Attorney General's Office)
Dezmond Cooley (Photo Source: Miss. Attorney General's Office)