$75,000 in taxpayer money lost, woman arrested and charged for fraud

Local News

A former director of Hazlehurst United Methodist Church Child Care & Preschool was arrested for one count of fraud in connection with a state or federally funded program and one count of embezzlement.

State Auditor Shad White announced Special Agents from his office arrested Jan Coleman. 

Jan Coleman was delivered a letter worth $10,187.53 by agents, for the cost of the investigation.

Auditor White says,“Coleman defrauded the taxpayers for far too long and took advantage of money intended for the benefit of children. I am thankful for the cooperation of the various state agencies and the district attorney for our coordinated efforts in bringing her to justice.”

Coleman could face up to 13 years in prison and $35,000 in fine if she is convicted.

According to the press release, Coleman is accused of making fraudulent claims to MDHS for children who were not enrolled in the childcare service she directed at the time she filed the claims. Coleman allegedly submitted multiple fraudulent claims worth over $75,000 from November 2014 to July 2018.

Coleman was terminated in July 2018 by Hazlehurst United Methodist Church Child Care & Preschool. Then the alleged fraud was discovered and self-reported by the childcare provider.

The case was investigated by MDHS before it was referred to the Auditor’s office by the Mississippi Attorney General.  

MDHS is withholding funding from the childcare provider to recover the loss of public funds. 

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