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.


Former Hinds County Deputy Circuit Court Clerk Arrested for Altering Public Records

July 1, 2014

A Terry resident has been arrested for creating false public records while serving as Hinds County Deputy Circuit Court Clerk, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Kimberly Keonna Gibson, aka Kimberly Keonna Turner, age 32, of Terry, has been arrested following indictment by  a Hinds County Grand Jury.  The indictment alleges that Gibson—while employed as a deputy circuit court clerk— altered marriage records “to show she was married when in fact she was not”.  Gibson is accused of altering records to show she was legally married to a Department of Corrections inmate in order to have conjugal visits.

Gibson was arrested at her home by U.S. Marshalls with assistance from deputies with the Hinds County Sheriff’s Department. The case is being investigated by Larry Ware and will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Larry Baker of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division.


Important Election Information

June 23, 2014
Download PDF

Democratic and Republican Party Primary Runoff Elections will be conducted on June 24, 2014.  Although these primaries are conducted by the respective parties, strict adherence to Mississippi law should be followed.

Observers from both the Secretary of State’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office will be in Mississippi counties on Election Day.  Matters of particular relevance: 

Poll watchers in polling place

Miss. Code Ann. Sections 23-15-245 and 23-15-577 provide that in primary elections the only persons who may lawfully be within 30 feet of the polls are:

1) Voters approaching the polls, voting, and leaving the polling place

2) The poll managers (pollworkers),

3) One pollwatcher appointed, in writing, by each candidate whose name appears on the ballot

Miss. Code Ann. Section 23-15-245 states that it is the duty of the bailiff poll manager to prevent interference with the election and to keep the polling place clear of persons not authorized to be in the polling place.  The bailiff may call upon other law enforcement officials for assistance in enforcing the law.

There is no authority in state law for a PAC or other outside group to place “election observers” in Mississippi polling places.

Crossover voting prohibited

Crossover voting is prohibited in the State of Mississippi.  Crossover voting is defined as participation in the first primary of one political party and participation in the runoff primary of another party.  Thus, a voter who cast his/her ballot in the Democratic Primary Election on June 3 is prohibited from casting his/her ballot in the Republican Primary Runoff Election on June 24, and vice versa. See MS AG Op., Brown (April 7, 1988).

Challenges

A person offering to vote may be challenged based upon the following grounds:

1)      The voter is not a registered voter in the precinct,

2)      The voter is not registered under the name he/she has applied to vote,

3)      The voter has already voted in the election,

4)      The voter is not a resident in the precinct where he/she is registered,

5)      The voter has illegally registered to vote,

6)      The voter has removed his/her ballot from the polling place, and

7)      The voter is otherwise disqualified by law. 

A person lawfully in the polling place may challenge a voter based on party loyalty only if the voter openly declares he does not intend to support the nominees of the party whose primary the voter is participating in.

Any criminal violation of Mississippi law should be reported to the local District Attorney’s Office and/or the Office of the Attorney General.

 


Saucier Resident Going to Prison for Possession of Child Porn

June 20, 2014

A Saucier man is going to prison for possession of child porn, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

 

Michael Ishee, 48, of Saucier was sentenced in Harrison County Circuit Court by Judge Lisa Dodson today for one count possession of child porn following Ishee’s guilty plea.  Ishee was sentenced to 20 years behind bars, 12 years to serve in the custody of the Department of Corrections.  He must also register as a sex offender, pay a $10,000 fine, $1,000 to the Mississippi children’s trust fund and $300 to the crime victim compensation fund.

 

The investigation by the Attorney General’s Office Cyber Crime Division/Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force uncovered Ishee in possession of multiple images and video of child pornography.  The Harrison County Sheriff’s Office assisted greatly in the case.

 

“We appreciate Judge Dodson handing down a sentence that will put this defendant away for such a long time,” said Attorney General Hood. 

 

The case was investigated by Richard Johnson and prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Brandon Ogburn with the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Division.


Lincoln County Resident Arrested for Possession of Child Porn

June 20, 2014
Download PDF

A Lincoln County resident is behind bars facing charges he was in possession of child pornography, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Scott Gill, 25, of Brookhaven was arrested Thursday by investigators with the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit.  Gill  was arrested after an investigation into the trafficking of images of child exploitation led to a search warrant being executed at his residence.

Gill was booked into the Lincoln County jail.  If convicted, he faces up to 40 years behind bars.  As with all cases, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


Simpson County Resident Arrested for Possession of Child Porn

June 19, 2014
Download PDF

A Simpson County resident has been arrested and charged with possession of child porn, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Thomas Eubanks, 21, was arrested at his home in Harrisville Wednesday by investigators with the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit. Eubanks was arrested after an investigation into the trafficking of images of child exploitation led to a search warrant being executed at his residence.

Eubanks is being held at the Simpson County jail without bond. If convicted, he faces up to 40 years behind bars. As with all cases, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


Ebay & Craigslist Scam Investigation Leads to Arrest of Two Romanian Men

June 11, 2014
Download PDF

Two Romanian men alleged to be involved in a sophisticated on-line sales scam have been arrested in Mississippi, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Paul Moraru-Rogoza, 37, and Gicu Oprea, 50, both of whose last known residence is in Lafayette, LA were arrested Sunday in Pearl following a joint investigation conducted by the Pearl Police Department and the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Division.

Moraru-Rogoza and Oprea are accused of participating in on-line sales scams where victims visit on-line shopping and auction websites such as Ebay and Craigslist, however are directed to spoofed sites or look-a-like sites to conduct transactions of the items they are interested in. The scam continues as the buyer communicates with the alleged seller, usually through email, and asked to wire payment to an alleged representative of the websites until the items are delivered. Moraru-Rogoza and Oprea are charged with multiple counts of fraudulently using others identity, using fictitious ID’s and communications fraud.

Moraru-Rogoza is charged with 14 counts of communications fraud and one count fraudulent use of identity, and faces up to 75 years behind bars (five years each count).  Oprea is charged with one count of communications fraud and one county fraudulent use of identity, and faces up to 10 years behind bars.  No bond has been set as of this time. 

Anyone with information concerning this case is asked to contact Investigator Richie McCluskey with the AG’s Consumer Protection Division at 601-359-4230.

As with all cases, the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case is being investigated by Chief Investigator Richie McCluskey and Pearl Police Detective Anita Ray and will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General David Linzey of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division and the Rankin County District Attorney’s Office.


AG Warning: Be Cautious of Recent Phone Scams

June 10, 2014
Download PDF

Attorney General Jim Hood today reminds Mississippians to continue to be cautious of bogus phone scams which constantly circulate in new ways.

“New and old scams arise daily by cons and cheats who spend all of their time finding new ways to take advantage of our citizens,” said Attorney General Jim Hood. “Our Consumer Protection Division makes a diligent effort to educate the public as we discover them.”

The Mississippi Attorney General’s Office and several other Mississippi power suppliers have received reports of consumers receiving phone calls from cons who are acting as representatives from their local power companies stating the customers’ electricity will be terminated due to non-payment.

A recent version of this scam was traced by investigators of the Attorney General’s Office to numbers from the Philippines.

“Personal information should never, ever be shared over the phone, mail or internet, no matter who the caller claims to be,” said Attorney General Hood.

Some tips to avoid these scams:

  • Don’t be fooled by caller ID numbers.  Scammers can “spoof” numbers and appear to be calling from inside the United States when in fact they are not.
  • Be suspicious of anyone who is vague in identifying themselves on the phoneor who presses you to immediately send money.
  • Be suspicious of anyone who calls or emails unexpectedly and wants you to wire money–especially out of the country.
  • Educate yourself and your family on how the scam works.
  • If you are concerned about your account, contact the organization in the email using a telephone number you know to be genuine, or open a new Internet browser session and type in the company’s correct Web address. In any case, don’t cut and paste the link in the message.

More information on this scam, and others like it, can be found online at www.agjimhood.com. Anyone who feels they have been victimized by these or any other scams can call the Attorney General’s Office, Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-281-4418 or can visit our website to fill out a complaint form.