Former Lawrence County conservation district clerk arrested for embezzlement

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LAWRENCE COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – State Auditor Shad White said special agents from his office arrested former Lawrence County Soil and Water Conservation District clerk Brandy Russell. She was indicted for embezzlement by a grand jury.

Russell is accused of using conservation district accounts to pay herself for bogus travel reimbursement requests, purchase her own groceries, and write checks directly to herself for cash.

White said after her scheme was discovered, Russell repaid the conservation district $10,260 and her employment was terminated. However, after the incident was reported to the Auditor’s office, investigators identified additional taxpayer loss. A demand letter, including interest and investigative expense worth $8,733.05, was issued to Russell at the time of her arrest.

“The Auditor’s office will continue to hold those who take public money accountable at every level, from large state agencies down to soil and water conservation districts,” said White. “Thank you to the agents in my office who worked this case and put a stop to the theft.”

Williams surrendered to special agents at the Lawrence County Jail on Wednesday. Her bond was set at $10,000 by the court, and she has been released from custody.

If convicted, Williams faces up to 10 years in prison and $5,000 in fines.

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