Pearl River County Man Faces Embezzlement Charges

October 9, 2015

Paul Bradley Holliday, 47, of Poplarville, has been has been indicted by a Pearl River County Grand Jury on three counts of embezzlement, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Holliday turned himself in to Pearl River County authorities Wednesday, October 7, following an investigation by the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division. Holliday is alleged to have embezzled approximately $268,965.97, from 2006-2009, while employed with a construction company in Poplarville, MS.  He was subsequently indicted on three separate counts of embezzlement.  

If convicted of counts one and two, Holliday faces up to 20 years behind bars and a $25,000 fine on each count and up to five years behind bars and a $5,000 fine on count three. He was released on a $25,000 bond and is awaiting trial. As with all cases, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case was investigated by Ronnie Odom and will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Larry Baker of the Mississippi Attorney General’s Insurance Integrity Unit. 



October 8, 2015
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Attorney General Jim Hood continues to work tirelessly with other states’ Attorneys General to address the lack of cybersecurity and ensure consumers are protected in the wake of the data breaches.  Since 2005, the United States has experienced more than 4,600 known data breaches, compromising nearly a billion records. The numbers continue to surge in 2015. In response to the increase in data breaches, Attorney General Hood has compiled a Cybersecurity Guide that updates existing resources to address growing trends and responses in a single guide.  The Guide, which was developed with input from some of his fellow attorneys general, builds upon cybersecurity materials from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), California, Illinois, and other sources.

“Any entity, whether big or small, can be the victim of a cybercrime. It has become second nature for most of us to lock our front doors when we leave the house.  Companies and agencies must take basic precautions to lock their computer systems and electronic data from cyber thieves. It is very important to train employees and not just assume they know computer security basics”, said Attorney General Hood.

The Guide was designed especially to help small businesses, but it may also be helpful to larger companies and government agencies as well.  The unique Guide includes a list of suggested standards, a list of what not to do and an appendix of important FTC cases which provide further guidance.

Additionally, the Guide provides:

  • An overview of cybersecurity threats facing small businesses.
  • A summary of several practices that help manage risks posed by these threats.
  • A response plan in the event of a cyber incident.

Standards include the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cyber Framework which the Department of Commerce created in collaboration with industry and in response to a 2013 Presidential Executive Order.

The Attorney General wants to remind businesses that:

  • Both the technology and nature of cyber-attacks are rapidly evolving.
  • No guide or advice is ever complete.
  • Monitoring cybersecurity updates on the resources listed in the Guide will help stay up to date.

Click here for a copy of the Guide.

Attorney General Hood Warns Mississippi Residents of Experian/T-Mobile Data Breach

October 8, 2015

Attorney General Jim Hood is warning Mississippians today of a recent data breach reported by T-Mobile and Experian affecting at least 15 million users nationwide and at least 89,000 Mississippians.

On September 15, 2015, Experian discovered that an unauthorized party accessed T-Mobile data housed in an Experian server that contained the personal information of more than 15 million T-Mobile users. Information that was breached includes customers’ names, addresses, social security numbers, dates of birth, identification numbers (typically a driver’s license number, military ID, or passport number) and additional information used in T-Mobile’s own credit assessment. According to Experian, the consumer credit database was not accessed in this incident and no payment card or banking information was obtained.

Mississippi residents who applied for service or device financing at T-Mobile USA, Inc. from Sept. 1, 2013 through Sept. 16, 2015 are advised to check their credit history and monitor their accounts. Anyone who receives a letter notifying them that their personal information was compromised or who applied for service during that time period described above could be impacted.

Experian and T-Mobile will offer affected consumers two years of credit monitoring and identity protection services at no cost. Experian will also waive the cost of freezing consumer’s credit to prevent a criminal from taking out a line of credit in a consumer’s name without permission. Visit or call Experian at (866)-369-0422 for more information about its credit monitoring.

For maximum protection, it is recommended to have both credit monitoring and a credit freeze in place.  Credit monitoring alerts consumers to fraud after the fact, so it’s better to also have a credit freeze already in place. A credit freeze requires the consumer to be contacted before a new line of credit is opened. 

 “We encourage impacted consumers to seek credit freezes as soon as possible, as well as take advantage of credit monitoring services,” said Attorney General Hood.

If you believe you are a victim of identity theft or any other scam, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 601-359-4230 or toll free at 1-800-281-4418. Additional resources about protecting your identity can be found at


Mississippi Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Receives $292,281 Grant to Continue Combatting Crimes Against our Children

October 6, 2015

ago icac posterAttorney General Jim Hood announced today that $292,281 in federal funding has been awarded to the Mississippi Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force from the U.S. Department of Justice to support the development of strategies that protect children from commercial and sexual exploitation.

The Attorney General’s Office formed the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force in 2007 assisted by the ICAC Continuation Grant which was issued by the Department of Justice. The task force is dedicated to proactive and reactive investigations, the forensic analyses of electronic evidence, prosecutions of technological crimes against children and the education of law enforcement and the public. The Mississippi unit now has 60 local, state and federal law enforcement affiliate agencies and multi-disciplinary partners.

“The task force provides critical administrative and computer forensic support to strengthen our fight against online exploitation of our children,” said Attorney General Hood. “This grant award will significantly benefit the Mississippi’s ICAC task force primarily by continued funding of ICAC investigator positions, an educational specialist, trainings and equipment for law enforcement affiliates, and support for the ICAC forensic labs.”

For more information about the Mississippi Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and Attorney General Jim Hood’s continuing efforts to crack down on sexual predators, visit

Attorney General Hood concludes, “As a father, I worry about the dramatic increase in the numbers of our vulnerable children and teenagers who use the internet to share personal information on social networking sites. We must continue to provide our law enforcement officers with the funds they need to ensure that the Internet is not a refuge for pedophiles and child pornographers targeting our young people.”

Attorney General Jim Hood Announces Two Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Documents Available for Public Comment

October 5, 2015
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Attorney General Jim Hood announced today that two documents needed to move forward for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill restoration plans on the Gulf Coast are now available for public comment. Once approved, these documents will provide Mississippi with a minimum of at least $2.17 billion in compensation to offset injuries resulting from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster.

The Consent Decree and the Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan (PDARP)/Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) are the two documents available for public comment for the next 60 days.

“By formally filing these documents with the court, we have taken the next step in restoring our natural resources and compensating our state and coastal communities,” said Attorney General Jim Hood. “BP rightly agreed to come to the table and reach this agreement instead of pursuing lengthy and expensive litigation.”

The Consent Decree details what BP must pay to the Gulf States and United States to resolve environmental claims and governmental economic claims. It also includes civil penalties under the Clean Water Act, of which 80 percent will be directed to the Gulf States for environmental and economic restoration via the RESTORE Act. This Consent Decree must be approved by the court before any settlement is final and will only be finalized after the consideration of public comments.

The Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan (PDARP) and companion Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) is a draft document that describes the injury to the environment studied through the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) under the Oil Pollution Act. The PDARP/PEIS lays out the restoration pathway to restore natural resources and services that were injured and lost as a result of the oil spill. Once approved, additional restoration plans will be developed that identify specific restoration projects in Mississippi, the other Gulf States and the Gulf of Mexico. It will only be final if approved by the Court and after the parties take into account public comment and review.

Following the public meetings and at the close of the public comment period, the NRDA Trustees will consider the input received on both documents, make appropriate modifications and present the final documents to the Court for review and approval.

“I commend the court for working diligently with all parties to forge a path for the future environmental and economic restoration of the Gulf Region,” said Attorney General Hood.

The Consent Decree and PDARP/PEIS stem from the previously announced Agreement in Principle that called for $1.5 billion in additional relief to Mississippi to recover environmental and economic damages resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Combined with early funding, Mississippi is on tap to receive a minimum of approximately $2.17 billion in compensation.

A meeting will be held on October 20 to allow the public the opportunity to review the Consent Decree, the Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan, and the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement to submit comments. It begins at 5:00 p.m. in the Fleming Education Center Auditorium at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast campus located at 730 East Beach Boulevard in Long Beach.

Attorney General Hood concludes, “I encourage all Mississippians who were impacted by this disastrous spill to engage in this invaluable process allowing them to provide their visions for restoring our Coast.”

The documents and supplemental materials are available for review and comment at Comprehensive information about all aspects of Mississippi’s restoration efforts can be found at

Cleveland Former Collections Clerk Arrested and Served Demand Following Indictment for Embezzlement

October 2, 2015

Tiffany Watson, former Collections Clerk for the City of Cleveland Municipal Court, has been arrested and charged with one count of Embezzlement by a Public Employee, announced Attorney General Jim Hood and State Auditor Stacey Pickering jointly today.

Special Agents from the State Auditor’s Office arrested Watson, 26, of Cleveland, late Wednesday, following an indictment by a Bolivar County Grand Jury. Watson was also served a demand in the amount of $7,674.96 to be returned to the State of Mississippi.

“My Office will continue to work to see that justice is served in this and all cases involving public monies,” State Auditor Stacey Pickering said.  “I applaud the work that our investigators have done up to this point.  Now, we will turn this case over to the Attorney General’s Office so that Ms. Watson may be held accountable.”

“It doesn’t matter what position you hold. No public official at any level of government is above the law in Mississippi,” said Attorney General Hood. “Public officials who violate state and local ethics laws will be prosecuted. We appreciate the great work done by the agents with the State Auditor’s Office on this case and we look forward to presenting their findings in court.”

Watson was booked into the Bolivar County Sheriff’s Office. If convicted, Watson faces up to 20 years behind bars and a $5,000 fine. As with all cases, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case is being investigated by the State Auditor’s Office and will be prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Stanley Alexander of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division.

Renova Man Faces Life in Prison for Armed Robbery

October 1, 2015

Ramon Wesley, 24, of Renova, has been arrested and charged with one count of Armed Robbery, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Wesley turned himself in to the Bolivar County Sheriff’s Department yesterday following an indictment by a Bolivar County Grand Jury. On August 4, 2014, Wesley allegedly robbed a Dollar General Store in Cleveland.

Wesley was released late Wednesday on a $50,000 bond. If convicted, Wesley faces up to life behind bars. As with all cases, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case is being investigated by Russell Frazier and will be prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Stanley Alexander of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division.


Attorney General Jim Hood Joins Kentucky and Sixteen Other States in Sending a Letter to Phusion Projects Asking to Lower Alcohol Content in “Four Loko” Malt Beverages

October 1, 2015

Attorney General Jim Hood today joined Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway and 15 other states in sending a letter to Phusion Projects, LLC and its officers (collectively, “Phusion”) regarding the flavored malt beverage Four Loko and its high alcohol content.

In March of 2014, a settlement joined by Attorney General Conway and 19 other attorneys general resolved allegations that Phusion marketed and sold Four Loko in violation of consumer protection and trade practice statutes by promoting the alcoholic beverage to minors.  Four Loko has been linked to multiple deaths in driving under the influence cases across the country in the last five years.  Earlier this year, a teenager in Edgewater, FL pled no contest to DUI manslaughter after getting in a wreck that killed his 16-year-old cousin.  He was reportedly drinking Four Loko.

With a 12% alcohol concentration in a 23.5 ounce container, one can of Four Loko contains 4.7 servings of alcohol.  Based on Centers for Disease Control (CDC) standards, drinking just one can of Four Loko, constitutes a binge drinking episode.  The CDC defines a standard serving of alcohol as 0.6 fluid ounces of “pure” ethyl alcohol.  The CDC further defines binge drinking as men drinking five and women drinking four or more alcohol servings in about two hours.   When a person consumes “Four Loko” they are, or are very close to, binge drinking after drinking just one can.

“Binge drinking is a serious problem facing teens and young adults in Mississippi,” Attorney General Hood said.  “I am calling for Phusion to lower the alcohol content in Four Loko to the industry standard of 8% alcohol by volume.  If steps are taken to significantly reduce the alcohol content found in this drink, then public safety risks will immediately decline for Mississippi consumers.”

The other state and territorial attorneys general offices that signed today’s letter are: Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont and the District of Columbia joined in signing this letter.

Click here to view a copy of this letter.