McComb Mayor Whitney Rawlings is not a happy man over what he calls a light sentence for a former Municipal Court Clerk who stole money while on job from the city.
The mayor said anyone who steals a million dollars deserves to be behind bars. Instead he said Greta Patterson got a slap on the wrist, but Patterson's attorney and Pike County's DA strongly disagree.
“Extremely disappointed," said Mayor Rawlings. "People you trust have let you down and hurt the city and hurt employees, hurt families.”
The Mayor didn't hold back his feelings when discussing his ex-court clerk Greta Patterson.
She was hired back in 1996 and recently confessed to stealing fine payments from last year until now.
According to Pike County District Attorney's Office, while records reflected those folks paid their city fines, some of the money was going into Patterson's purse.
“I would have thought there would have been a prison term,” added Rawlings.
Patterson's attorney said the ex-clerk only confessed to stealing $84,000, not $1 million that the city is saying. The ex-clerk could have faced up to 20 years in prison, but instead of sitting behind bars, as part of plea deal, she got two years house arrest, five years probation and she also has to repay the stolen money.
“We are not a wealthy city by no means, and those are monies that could be used elsewhere,” said Rawlings.
Some McComb residents agree with Mayor Rawlings.
“She needs to give the money back quick, fast and in a hurry because we have streets that ambulances have to go over that need fixing,” said a McComb resident.
And they don't believe justice was served.
“We go to jail, they get house arrest,” said a McComb Resident.
Defense Attorney Paul Luckett and District Attorney Dee Bates say if Patterson was locked up, citizens of McComb would probably get no restitution.
If she doesn't complete any requirement of her court order she can be sent to prison for ten years.
A hearing on how much restitution Patterson will have to pay back is scheduled for February 3.
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