JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Mississippi State Auditor Shade White said special agents from his office arrested a former Simpson County Sheriff’s Office administrative assistant. Stephanie Cuellar was indicted for embezzlement by a grand jury.
Cuellar was issued a demand letter worth $34,829.57, which includes interest and investigative expenses.
She is accused of embezzling cash payments meant to pay bonds for people to be released from prison. Simpson County government officials reported Cuellar to the Auditor’s office after she failed to deposit any cash payments into the proper bank account for several months.
Investigators said they found a backlog of cash and check bond payments in her desk waiting to be deposited when they responded to the complaint. Records show over $16,000 missing from January 2017 to October 2018.
“In times like these, it is important for the law to continue to be enforced. Just as we would still arrest someone for robbing a gas station right now, we must also continue to enforce the law when someone steals from government,” said White.
Cuellar surrendered to special agents at the Simpson County Jail on Tuesday. Her bond was set at $30,000. She has since been released from custody.
“While this embezzlement did not occur during the COVID-19 emergency,” said White, “people often use natural disasters or emergencies as an opportunity to perpetrate fraud. Those people considering this road need to understand: we are still watching. It’s more important than ever that taxpayer money be spent on legitimate purchases, not end up in someone’s pocket illegally.”
If convicted, Cuellar faces up to 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.