JACKSON, Miss. (WTOK) - A former justice court clerk in Wayne County has been arrested by the state auditor's office on an indictment for embezzlement.
Christy James was indicted on the charge by a Wayne County grand jury.
A demand letter worth $51,531.80 was delivered to James at the time of her arrest. The demand amount includes investigative costs and all accrued interest.
State Auditor Shad White says James is accused of embezzling cash and money orders meant to pay fines levied by the Wayne County Justice Court. James is purported to have voided transactions in the court’s accounting software to conceal her crime. Investigators allege James stole nearly $40,000 from October 2017 to September 2018.
“I’ve found that theft of this size is far too common in our small communities. It’s one of the reasons why demands from the auditor’s office have increased this past year,” said White. “The auditor’s office will continue to send the message that embezzlement like this will not be tolerated. People who are perpetrating similar schemes around the state should consider themselves on notice.”
James surrendered to agents at the Wayne County Jail. Bail was set at $5,000.
If convicted, James faces up to 20 years in prison or $5,000 in fines. The case will be prosecuted by the office of District Attorney Kassie Coleman.
A $50,000 surety bond covers James’s employment at the Wayne County Justice Court. A surety bond is similar to insurance designed to protect taxpayers from embezzlement and corruption. James will remain liable for the full amount of the demand in addition to criminal proceedings.
Suspected fraud may be reported to the auditor’s office online any time by calling 1-800-321-1275 during normal business hours or visiting the auditor's website by clicking the attached link.