From 2013 to 2017, two Coahoma Community College employees in Clarksdale, Miss.are said to have spent more than $750,000 of the college’s money on local and online purchases for shoes, watches, a chandelier, and many other items.
Special Agents from the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor say they delivered demand letters Friday for embezzlement to the accused women.
Employees Gwendolyn Jefferson and Stacie Neal are demanded to pay $981,600.64, which includes principal, interest, and investigative costs, according to the state auditor.
Officials say that Jefferson and Neal conspired to embezzle the money from the college by creating false purchase documents and making personal purchases with credit cards and checks belonging to the community college.
“This case represents the largest individual demand for embezzlement from the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor in 5 years,” a press release said.
Mississippi State Auditor Shad White said “I know these two individuals will be held accountable, but around the state, all of our colleges and universities need to draw a lesson.”
“Make sure different people in your procurement offices are responsible for different parts of making purchases. Separation of duties is an important way to prevent fraud. It cannot prevent all conspiracies between multiple people, but it can make those conspiracies harder to pull off.”
“…Most corruption in America is discovered not through audits but through tips, so speak up,” he added.
Fraud can be reported to the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor online, by clicking the red button at the top-right corner of the Auditor’s website or via phone, at 1-(800)-321-1275.