Former Madison County Judge Sentenced for Simple Assault

June 22, 2016
Download PDF

A former Madison County Judge was sentenced today for simple assault, announced Attorney General Jim Hood.

Former Madison County Justice Court Judge Bill Weisenberger, 58, of Madison, appeared before Senior Status Judge L. Breland Hilburn in Madison County Circuit Court, pleading guilty to misdemeanor simple assault. Weisenberger was accused of striking an individual in the head in an incident at the Canton Flea Market in 2014.

Judge Hilburn sentenced Weisenberger to serve six months in the custody of the Madison County Jail with six months suspended, followed by three months of supervised probation and three months of unsupervised probation.  Additionally, Weisenberger was ordered to pay a $500 fine, $500 to the Crime Victims Fund and serve 100 hours of community service at Our Daily Bread in Canton. He agreed to never seek public office or work in law enforcement again.

“Today’s sentence represents the final chapter in a very unfortunate and unusual case,” Attorney General Hood said.  “I want to thank Judge Hilburn’s sentence and his order to the defendant to serve community service hours.  We also sincerely appreciated working with the victim and his family in their pursuit of justice.”

Weisenberger was arrested in February 2015 following an indictment by a Madison County Grand Jury.  In April 2015, he was suspended from his position by the Mississippi Supreme Court. He later lost a re-election bid.

The case was investigated by Perry Tate and prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Stan Alexander of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division, following recusal by the Madison County District Attorney’s Office.


Hinds County District Attorney Arrested, Accused of Illegally Consulting Criminal Defendants

June 22, 2016
Download PDF

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith was arrested today following a joint investigation by the Attorney General’s Office and the FBI into allegations that Smith illegally advised or defended individuals charged with crimes, Attorney General Jim Hood announced today.

Smith, 45, of Jackson, was arrested at his office by investigators with the Attorney General’s Office and the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office. Smith was charged with six counts of violating Mississippi Code Section 97-11-3, a misdemeanor. That law states that the attorney general or district attorney shall not “consult, advise, counsel or defend” a person charged with a crime or misdemeanor.

The joint investigation between the Attorney General’s Office and FBI revealed that Smith violated Mississippi law related to his involvement with two different criminal defendants while serving as district attorney.

Smith was booked into the Hinds County Jail and released on his own recognizance. If convicted, Smith could be removed as district attorney and prohibited from holding any other elected office or government position. Additionally, he faces a $500 fine.

“It is particularly sad to have to prosecute and seek removal from office a fellow prosecutor,” said Attorney General Jim Hood.  “We greatly appreciate the hard work of the FBI on this case, and we hope to resolve this as soon as possible.”

“Those who are sworn to uphold the law are not above the law,” said Donald Alway, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Mississippi. “Though today’s charges are only allegations, public corruption poses a fundamental threat to our national security and way of life. It impacts everything from how well our borders are secured and our neighborhoods protected…to verdicts handed down in courts. The FBI appreciates the close cooperation on this matter with the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office.”

As with all cases, a charge is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The FBI requests that anyone with information on other corruption matters contact the FBI Jackson office at (601) 948-5000.

 


Houston Nurse Sentenced to Prison for Medicaid Fraud, Illegally Obtaining Patient’s Drugs

June 21, 2016

Attorney General Jim Hood announced today a Chickasaw County nurse is going to prison for Medicaid Fraud and illegally taking controlled substances from three different patients.

Cheryl Renee Hamblet, 42, of Houston, appeared before Choctaw County Circuit Court Judge Joseph H. Loper, Jr. Monday for sentencing after pleading guilty to one count of Medicaid Fraud and one count of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.  As a result, Hamblet was sentenced to serve three years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections on each count, with one year to serve and two years suspended on post-release supervision. The sentences will run concurrently.  Hamblet was also ordered to pay $500 to the Office of the Attorney General for investigative fees and court costs.

Hamblet was employed as an LPN by a Eupora nursing home at the time the crimes were committed.  She was given access through her employment to controlled substances prescribed for patients.  On three separate occasions, Hamblet diverted Percocet and Hydrocodone, both schedule two controlled substances, to her own use. The substances were prescribed to and meant to be dispensed to three different patients.

“Our office is deeply committed to protecting our state’s most vulnerable residents and we thank Judge Loper for reminding anyone who is caught stealing from them will serve time,” said Attorney General Jim Hood.

This case was investigated by Joe Sanderson and prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Garland Lyell of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

 


Attorney General Jim Hood Announces the Conclusion of the State and Federal “Mississippi Burning” Case

June 20, 2016
Download PDF

Attorney General Jim Hood today announced an end to the active federal and state investigation into the 1964 murders of three civil rights volunteers in Neshoba County.

At a news conference, Attorney General Hood said investigators have concluded there are no more viable potential criminal charges in what is commonly referred to as the “Mississippi Burning” case.

“The FBI, my office and other law enforcement agencies have spent decades chasing leads, searching for evidence and fighting for justice for the three young men who were senselessly murdered on June 21, 1964,” Attorney General Hood said. “It has been a thorough and complete investigation.  I am convinced that during the last 52 years, investigators have done everything possible under the law to find those responsible and hold them accountable; however, we have determined that there is no likelihood of any additional convictions. Absent any new information presented to the FBI or my office, this case will be closed.”

James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner disappeared the night of June 21, 1964. Their bodies were discovered 44 days later. The three were in the area working to register African American voters.

In 1967, one man pleaded guilty and seven others were tried and convicted of federal civil rights violations related to the murders.  In 2005, the Attorney General’s Office and Neshoba County District Attorney’s Office secured a manslaughter conviction for Edgar Ray Killen, who is currently serving a 60-year prison sentence.

The U.S. Department of Justice recently presented its findings to Attorney General Hood, who determined based on those findings that there were no other viable prosecutions in the “Mississippi Burning” case or related cases.

Attorney General Hood said the most recent development in the case was approximately 18 months ago, when a witness backed out at the last minute after pledging to sign a sworn statement that would have implicated a suspect.

The Attorney General has informed relatives of the victims about the decision to close the case. Those family members recognize the work of law enforcement over the years to solve the crimes, he said.

“We sincerely appreciate the blood, sweat, and tears of the FBI agents, Department of Justice officials, Navy Seabees, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and local court offices that assisted in this case,” Attorney General Hood said. “The FBI agents who came into Mississippi faced threats and harassment in addition to the oppressive heat of a Mississippi summer.  Despite a hostile environment, these law enforcement officers remained solely focused on locating the missing and solving this heinous crime.” Attorney General Hood specifically thanked Barry Kowalski and William Nolan of the Department of Justice, as well as, FBI Special Agent Jeromy Turner.

At the news conference, Attorney General Hood said closing the case also closes a significant chapter in Mississippi’s history.

“The state of Mississippi was committed to seeing this investigation through to fruition and to moving forward,” Attorney General Hood said. “We should all acknowledge that our diversity is this state’s greatest asset. That remarkable diversity manifests itself in the unique culture we share with the world.

“Our state and our entire nation are a much better place because of the work of those three young men and others in 1964 who only wanted to ensure that the rights and freedoms promised in our Constitution were afforded to every single one of us in Mississippi.”

CLICK HERE to view the Department of Justice report.


Three Meridian Residents Indicted for Insurance Fraud

June 17, 2016
Download PDF

K_Johnson

Kyle Johnson, 29, of Meridian

Three Meridian men have been arrested following their indictments for insurance fraud in Lauderdale County, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

T_Griffin

Toreno L. Griffin, 35, of Meridian

 

 

 

 

Toreno L. Griffin, 35, Kyle Johnson, 29, both residents of Meridian, were recently arrested by investigators with the Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Unit following their indictments by a Lauderdale County Grand Jury.  Each was charged with one count of insurance fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.

Griffin and Johnson are accused of intending to gain a benefit for themselves to which they were not due by allegedly scheming to defraud GEICO Insurance Company by filing false claims for damages received in an automobile collision.

Griffin and Johnson were booked into the Lauderdale County Jail.  If convicted each defendant faces up to eight years in jail, five years for conspiracy and three years for insurance fraud and a total of $10,000 in fines.

Johnson faces additional charges in a separate indictment with the third defendant, Vanoy Adams, 22, of Meridian.  Each is charged with one count of insurance fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.  The indictment alleges that Johnson and Adams worked together to appropriate a benefit to themselves to which they were not entitled by executing a scheme to defraud GEICO Insurance Company in that false insurance claims were filed for damages received in an automobile collision.

V_Adams

Vanoy Adams, 22, of Meridian

If convicted, Adams faces up to five years for conspiracy and three years for insurance fraud in jail and a total of $10,000 in fines.  Johnson faces up to an additional eight years (five for conspiracy three for insurance fraud) and $10,000 in fines for a total of 16 years behind bars and a total of $20,000 in fines.

As with all cases, a charge is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

These cases are being investigated by Kenneth West and will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Larry Baker of the Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Unit.


Clinton Resident Arrested for Possession of Child Pornography

June 9, 2016
Download PDF

Eric Len Wrigley, 33, of Clinton, has been arrested and charged with one count of child exploitation, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Wrigley was arrested Wednesday at his home by investigators of the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit/Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force with assistance of the Clinton Police Department.  Investigators executed a search warrant following an investigation of suspicious online activity and seized evidence relevant to the charge.

Wrigley was booked into the Hinds County Detention Center.  No bond has been set at this time. If convicted, he faces up to 40 years behind bars.  As with all cases, a charge is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Brandon Ogburn of the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit. 

 


Two Hinds County Women Charged with Medicaid Fraud

June 7, 2016
Download PDF

jones_green

Pictured left to right: Andria Jones, 38, of Jackson, and Jennifer Green, 36, of Pearl

Two Hinds County women were charged with Medicaid fraud and conspiracy to commit Medicaid fraud, Attorney General Jim Hood announced today.

Jennifer Green, 36, of Pearl, and Andria Jones, 38, of Jackson, were indicted by a Hinds County Grand Jury for three counts of Medicaid Fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit Medicaid Fraud.

Green and Jones are accused of submitting and conspiring to submit false claims to Medicaid under various codes on behalf of Tutoring, Assessment and Professional Services (TAPS), located in Jackson.  At the time crimes were allegedly committed, Green was the Director and Jones was the Assistant Director.

The women were booked into the Hinds County Jail with a bond set at $20,000.  The defendants each face possible sentences of five years and $50,000 in fines for each Medicaid fraud and conspiracy count for a total of 20 years and $200,000 in fines.  In addition, they could be required to pay restitution and penalties to the Medicaid program of more than $1,040,000.

A charge is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case was investigated by Investigator Barrick Fortune, Auditor Teresa Matthews, Registered Nurse Tina Bennett and Analysts Mark Branning and Richard Cameron of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Special Assistant Attorney General Sue Perry is prosecuting the case.

 


Mathiston Man Arrested for Embezzlement by a Public Official

June 3, 2016
Download PDF

Shane Box

Shane Box

JACKSON – The former Mathiston town marshal was arrested today for five counts of felony embezzlement by a public official, Attorney General Jim Hood announced.

Shane Box, 38, was arrested by investigators with the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division, with assistance from the Webster County Sheriff’s Office. He was booked into the Webster County Jail. Bond was set at $15,000 for each count, for a total of $75,000.

Box is accused of the embezzlement of five city-owned firearms while he was employed by the city, where he was also previously assistant fire chief.

The maximum sentence for embezzlement by a public official is 20 years in prison or a fine of $5,000 on each count.

A charge is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Investigator Roger Wade of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division investigated the case. Assistant Attorney General Stan Alexander will prosecute the case.

###