Former State Employee Going to Prison for Embezzlement and Forgery

July 29, 2014
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A former state employee is going to prison for embezzlement and forgery, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today. 

Rhonda Gleason, 49, of Richton, was sentenced today by Judge Billy Joe Landrum in the First Judicial District of Jones County after pleading guilty to two counts of embezzlement and one count of forgery.  The crimes occurred while Gleason was employed as a program director at Ellisville State School.  Officials at Ellisville reported the issue to the Attorney General’s Office.

Gleason was sentenced to five years on each count, to run concurrent, with four years suspended and one to serve.  She also received two years of post-release supervision during which time she must complete 624 hours of community service.  Gleason was also ordered to pay full restitution to Ellisville, which initially reimbursed the victims.  She must also pay all court costs plus a $1,000 fine to cover investigative costs and $1,000 to the public defender’s fund.

The attorney general’s investigation showed that Gleason took small increments of money totaling over $5,500 from over 22 residents during a two year period. Gleason also forged the names of other employees claiming they had witnessed monetary transactions when in fact they had not.

The case was investigated and prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.


Horn Lake Nurse Arrested for Possession of Controlled Substance

July 25, 2014
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A Horn Lake nurse has been arrested for alleged possession of a controlled substance, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Justin McElroy, 31, of Horn Lake, turned himself in to authorities Thursday, July 24, after being indicted by a Desoto County Grand Jury. At the time the crimes are alleged to have been committed, McElroy was working as an RN at a nursing home  in Southaven. He is alleged to have acquired over 20 Oxycodone pills which had been  prescribed to and purchased for a patient, and converted them to his own use.

McElroy was booked into the Desoto County jail with a bond set at $10,000. If convicted of the charges, McElroy faces a maximum of five years in prison and $1,000 in fines.  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 and will be prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.


Indianola Woman Arrested in Exploitation Case Involving Vulnerable Person

July 21, 2014
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An Indianola woman has been arrested and charged with one count of felony exploitation of a vulnerable person, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Francine Byrd Brown, 51, was arrested today by investigators with the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office. Brown, working as a Resident Assistant at a personal care home in Indianola,  is accused of taking over $300  from a resident’s wallet over a period of time from on or about June 20, 2014, through on or about July 21, 2014.

Brown was booked into the Sunflower County jail with bond set at $10,000.

If convicted, Brown faces a maximum sentence of ten years and a $10,000 fine.

As with all criminal cases, the defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


Magee Nursing Home Resident Arrested in Death of Roommate

July 10, 2014
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A nursing home resident in Magee has been arrested for second degree murder involving the death of his roommate, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Jerrell Eubanks, 63, a resident of a nursing center in Magee, was arrested this evening by investigators with the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, with assistance from the Magee Police Department. Eubanks is charged with second degree murder for the death of his roommate at the nursing home. He is accused of pushing a cellophane bag containing a sandwich down the throat of the 83 year old victim, causing his death. It is the general policy of the Attorney General’s Office to not release the exact identity of a victim.

The case is being investigated and prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. If convicted, Eubanks 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.


AG Warns That Phone Scammers Continue Clever Cons

July 4, 2014
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Attorney General Jim Hood today is reissuing a reminder about the clever scams constantly being executed by con-artists.

One current scam, a version of what is known as the “emergency scam” has circulated and is falsely using the name of a local law firm, Hawkins/Gibson.  The law firm reported the calls they have been receiving to the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s Office out of concern for the victims—all of whom appear to have applied for payday loans. Keep in mind the caller may use the name of any other law firm, agency or business.

How the Scam Works

You receive a phone call from a scammer representing themselves as a collection agency for Hawkins/Gibson Law Firm. The scammer then says you owe money to the law firm and they are collecting the money for Hawkins/Gibson. They will then attempt to scare you into sending the money by saying “if you do not send this money, you will be arrested”. Recipients of these phone calls have stated that the scammer will then have someone get on the phone proclaiming to be a police officer, who verifies the threat. The criminal always attempts to use intimidation in the situation to force the victim to respond quickly.

How to Avoid This Scam

  • Be suspicious of anyone who is vague in identifying themselves on the phone. Be suspicious of anyone who calls or emails unexpectedly and wants you to wire money–especially out of the country. If you think this might be a legitimate phone call, then contact the agency directly. Avoid giving any personal information over the phone.
  • It comes in different forms but there is always some “act now or something terrible will happen” pitch.  The scam, in its traditional form is known as the “emergency scam” because the criminal always tries to use the scare of an emergency situation to force the victim to respond quickly.
  • One clever way con-artists and crooks are getting folks to answer the phone is to spoof the actual number they are calling so that the person answering the phone sees their own number show up on caller id.  Many people will answer the phone out of curiosity only to get scammed or realize the scam attempt.

“Everyone should look with suspicion at  any unsolicited emails or phone calls that seek to play on your emotions and your pocketbook,” said Attorney General Hood.  “Always protect your personal information.”

Some key tips to remember:

  • Do not respond to any unsolicited e-mails.
  • Do not answer the phone for a number you do not recognize or that shows up as your own.
  • If you do answer, then hang up the minute you realize it is a scam.
  • Do not click on any attachments associated with such emails, as they may contain viruses or malware.
  • Educate yourself and your family on how the scam works.
  • Be suspicious of anyone who is vague in identifying themselves on the phone.
  • Be suspicious of anyone who calls unexpectedly and wants you to wire money–especially out of the country.
  • NEVER wire or send money in any form to persons or organizations you do not know
  • Always protect your PII (Personally Identifiable Information).   Giving it out could cause you to become a victim of identity theft.

More information on this scam, and others like it, can be found online at www.agjimhood.com.


Jackson Resident Going to Prison for Medicaid Fraud

July 1, 2014

A Jackson resident is going to prison for Medicaid fraud, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Barbara Jones, 31, of Jackson, pleaded guilty to three counts of Medicaid fraud before Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Jeff Weill today.  As a result, Jones was sentenced to five years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, one to serve, four suspended and five years of post release supervision per count to run concurrently.  Jones was also ordered to pay $28,158.61 in restitution and a penalty of $84,475.83, to be paid during the five years of post release supervision.

The Attorney General’s investigation showed that Jones was defrauding Medicaid by billing for prescription glasses for over 130 children who never received the glasses.  Most of the children did not even need glasses.

“It is our hope that cases like this will send the message to others, trying to cheat the system in this same way, that they will not win and they will pay dearly when they are caught,” said Attorney General Hood.

This case was investigated and prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.


Jackson Resident Going to Prison for Abuse of Vulnerable Person

July 1, 2014

A Jackson resident is going to prison for felony abuse of a vulnerable person, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Joshua Mitchell, 23, of Jackson, pled guilty to felony abuse of a vulnerable person Monday in front of Judge William E. Chapman in Rankin County Circuit Court.  As a result, Judge Chapman sentenced Mitchell to 10 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, five years suspended, five to serve followed by five years of supervised probation.  Mitchell was also ordered to pay $1,000 to the Mississippi Crime Victim Compensation Fund and court costs of $931.50.

Mitchell admitted in court to striking the victim, a patient at Hudspeth Regional Center in Whitfield, on the jaw resulting in a fracture of the victims’ jaw.

“It’s always a good day when we can bring about some justice for victims and their families,” said Attorney General Hood.  “We are working hard every day to protect all our residents, but especially our most vulnerable.”

This case was investigated and prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

 


Two Lamar County Residents Going to Prison For Child Exploitation

July 1, 2014

Two Lamar County residents are going to prison after pleading guilty to one count of child exploitation, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Hunter Richardson Howell, 31, of Hattiesburg, and Robert Shawn Sumrall, 29, of Purvis, each pled guilty to one count of child exploitation before special circuit Judge William E. Andrews, III in Lamar County on Monday.

Each defendant was sentenced to a term of 10 years with five years to serve, five suspended and five years post release supervision.  The defendants must also pay an assessment of $1,000 to the crime victims compensation fund and register as sex offenders.  The Attorney General’s investigation showed both defendants were in possession of multiple images of child pornography.

The cases developed following arrests by the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit/Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, with assistance from Lamar County Sheriff’s Office.  The cases were prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Brandon Ogburn.