Pearl Resident Going to Prison for Possession and Production of Child Pornography

February 2, 2015
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A Pearl resident is going to prison after being found guilty for possessing and producing child pornography, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Michael Donaldson, age 35, of Pearl, was sentenced today by Rankin County Circuit Court Judge William Chapman on one count of possession of child pornography and one count of filming another without permission where there is an expectation of privacy. Donaldson was convicted by a Rankin County Trial Jury on January 23, 2015 after a week long trial.

Judge Chapman sentenced Donaldson to 40 years with 30 years to serve on the child exploitation charge (possession of child pornography) and sentenced him to serve five years on the photographing or filming of another without permission where there is an expectation of privacy. Donaldson will serve a total sentence of 45 years with 35 years being a mandatory day-for-day sentence. He was ordered to pay $1,000 to the children’s trust fund and $1,000 to the crime victim’s compensation fund. Donaldson must also register as a sex offender upon release.

Donaldson was arrested at his home by investigators with the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit. The investigation found Donaldson in possession of hundreds of images and videos of child pornography, one of which he produced himself by placing a camera in a bathroom where he filmed a minor child.

“This crime is nothing short of sickening,” said Attorney General Hood. “We do appreciate the jury for a just verdict and Judge Chapman for the maximum time behind bars, which is exactly where this predator and others like him should be.”

This case was prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorneys General Brandon Ogburn of the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit and Marvin Sanders of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Unit.


Two Arrested for Insurance Fraud in Madison County

January 30, 2015
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A Tchula woman and a Madison man have been arrested for insurance fraud in Madison County, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Paula Jordan Sharpe, 57 of Tchula and Shamel Cobbins, 38  , of Madison were arrested Thursday by the U.S. Marshal’s Office following indictment by a Madison County Grand Jury on one count insurance fraud and one count conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.

The indictment alleges that the two worked together to appropriate a benefit to themselves to which they were not entitled by executing  “a scheme to defraud Progressive Insurance Company, in that she/he filed or caused to be filed a fraudulent insurance claim form with Progressive Insurance Company stating a 1989 International Dump Truck…had been stolen when in fact Paula Jordan Sharpe had paid someone to dispose of the truck, with the intent to defraud Progressive Insurance Company.”

The initial investigation in the case was done by The Mississippi Bureau of Investigations and handed over to the Attorney General’s Office to present to the Grand Jury and, upon indictment, prosecute.

“We appreciate the great work done by the agents with MBI on this case and we look forward to presenting their findings in court,” said Attorney General Hood.  “We would also like to thank the officers with the U.S. Marshal’s Office for their assistance in the arrests of these defendants.”

The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Larry Baker of the Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Unit.

If convicted the defendants face up to eight years (five on the conspiracy charge and three on the insurance fraud charge) behind bars.  As with all cases, the defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


Madison County Resident Going to Prison for Possession of a Controlled Substance

January 27, 2015
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A Madison man has been sentenced to prison for possession of a controlled substance, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Leabrian Myers, 23, of Madison, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of possession of a controlled substance in Madison County Circuit Court. Judge William Chapman sentenced Myers to the maximum penalty of eight years to serve in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections as a habitual offender.  Myers was found to be in possession of 500 dosage units of hydrocodone with acetaminophen after a routine traffic stop.  The case was initially handled by the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and handed over to the Attorney General’s Office for prosecution.

“We appreciate Judge Chapman’s sentence ordering the maximum time behind bars,” said Attorney General Hood. “We also appreciate the initial investigative work done by the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics which made this case.”

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Stan Alexander of the Mississippi Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division.

Myers is also awaiting trial for burglary of a pharmacy in Ackerman.


Hinds County Man Going to Prison for Simple Robbery

January 15, 2015
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A Jackson resident has been sentenced to prison for simple robbery and receiving stolen property, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Larry Ray, 19, of Jackson, appeared before Hinds County Circuit Court Judge William Gowan Friday to face charges related to two separate armed robberies. Ray pleaded guilty to two counts of simple robbery and one count of receiving stolen property.  For this crime, Judge Gowan sentenced Ray to 15 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections with 10 years to serve, five years suspended and five years of post-release supervision. Ray was also sentenced in that case to 10 years for receiving stolen property. He was ordered to pay $500 to the Mississippi Crime Victims Compensation Fund.  Ray admitted in court that he and two co-defendants robbed two female victims at gunpoint at a Jackson apartment complex.

Ray also plead guilty in court to another simple robbery and was sentenced to 15 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections with five years suspended.  In this case, Ray admitted he observed the victim placing money in their pocket while leaving a Dairy Queen in Jackson and grabbed the victim’s jacket from behind and reached into the victim’s front pocket and removed the cash that had been placed there.

The sentences are to run concurrent  meaning Ray will serve a total of 10 years in prison.  If the defendant fails to comply with the terms and conditions of his sentence he could potentially face 40 years behind bars .

This case was investigated by Christopher Watkins and Perry Tate and prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Marvin Sanders of the Mississippi Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division.


Richland Resident Arrested for Child Desertion

January 14, 2015
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A Rankin County man has been arrested for child desertion, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Joe Glen Tharp, Sr.. 36, of Richland has been arrested and booked in the Rankin County Detention Center today on one count of felony child desertion.  Tharp is alleged to owe approximately $35,000 in back child support.  If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison and a $500 fine. No court dates have been set at this time.  As with all cases, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The arrest was made by Investigators Larry Ware and Keith Denson of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division.   The case will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Elliott Flaggs, Director of the Attorney General’s Child Desertion Unit.


Two Mississippi Aldermen Arrested for Fraud

January 12, 2015
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Two Mississippi Aldermen have been arrested for filing fraudulent statements, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Jeffrey L. Riley, 48, an Alderman for the city of Sledge, and Ontario Braxton, 41, an Alderman for the city of Coahoma, were both arrested Thursday (January 8) in separate and unrelated cases.  Both defendants are charged with filing a false qualifying statement of intent for the Office of Alderman. Riley and Braxton are both convicted felons and are accused of intentionally failing to reveal that information in their qualifying paperwork.  Both have been released on their own recognizance.

If convicted, Riley and Braxton face up to five years behind bars and a $10,000 fine. As with all cases, the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case is being investigated by Perry Tate and prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Stan Alexander of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division.


Nursing Assistant Charged with Exploitation of Vulnerable Person in George County

January 7, 2015
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A certified nursing assistance at a personal care home in Lucedale has been arrested for allegedly victimizing a patient of the facility, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Investigators with the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit arrested Patricia Harris, 31, of Moss Point on Tuesday at her home in Moss Point.  Harris is charged with three counts forgery and one count exploitation of a vulnerable person.  Harris is accused, while working as a CNA at a personal care home in Lucedale, of using the checks and credit cards of a patient in an amount over $35,000 for her own personal gain.   If convicted, Harris faces up to 15 years on each forgery count and 10 years on the exploitation charge for a potential maximum total of 55 years behind bars.  As with all cases the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Harris was booked into the George County Detention Center.  The George County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the initial investigation and arrest.


Harrison County Woman Arrested for Scamming Red Cross

January 7, 2015
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A Harrison County woman has been arrested for allegedly defrauding the American Red Cross, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Wanda Perkins, 43, of Gulfport, was arrested Monday night at her home in Harrison County by investigators with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.  Perkins is charged with one count false pretense, one count mail and wire fraud, and one count credit card fraud. Perkins was a volunteer with the American Red Cross and allegedly created false claims of fires that destroyed homes in order to receive money from the charity.   She is accused of receiving approximately $20,000 in the alleged con.

“We hope people will continue to give to the American Red Cross as members of their local organization brought the matter to our attention and have been most cooperative with our investigation,” said Attorney General Jim Hood.

“We are aware of the arrest of a former volunteer of the Mississippi region of the American Red Cross,” said Marilynn Grossman, Regional Communications/Marketing Manager for the American Red Cross. “ The initial information in this matter was developed through a routine review of our disaster services operations.  That information was turned over to the Mississippi Attorney General’s office who began an investigation into the matter. The Red Cross will cooperate fully with the investigation.”

Perkins was booked into the Harrison County Detention Center.  If convicted, she faces up to 18 years 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 Miller Faulk and Bo Luckey and will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Shaun Yurtkuran of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.