Current and former Bassfield city officials facing jail time
PEARL, MS (Mississippi News Now) -
By C. J. Lemaster
The State Auditor's Office said a two-year investigation has led to the sentencing of several Bassfield city employees and the return of hundreds of thousands of dollars of seized property.
Twenty-two items, from campers to small boats, were purchased by the employees.
Four former employees face jail time:
Former Fire Chief Tommy Dewitt
Former Mayor Jerry Holland
Former Deputy Court Clerk and police officer Dianna Hutchinson
Former Maintenance Engineer Robert Mauldin
In addition, two current employees, City Clerk Brenda Saulters and Fire Chief Billy Matthews, also face sentences.
Officials said the six will serve 10-year sentences with the Mississippi Department of Corrections. In all, the items were valued at nearly $310,000, and all of them were purchased fraudulently.
"We had individuals who basically in a nutshell came here to Mississippi Surplus Property, purchased equipment under false pretense that it was for the city's use, but then converted it into personal use for either their friends or family members," said State Auditor Stacey Pickering.
Pickering said since the equipment has now been returned back to Surplus Property, other government entities will be able to use it.
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