Owner of a Jackson Retirement and Assisted Living Facility Arrested for Exploitation

September 3, 2015

Pebla Jones Wright, a.k.a. Pebbles, 48, of Jackson, has been arrested following an indictment for felony exploitation of a vulnerable person, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Wright was arrested by Investigator John Trey Mardis following her indictment by a Hinds County Grand JuryThe two-count indictment charges Wright with one count of felony exploitation of a vulnerable person and one count of attempted exploitation of a vulnerable person.  Wright owns a retirement and assisted living facility in Jackson.  The indictment alleges that Wright took more than $12,000 from a vulnerable person in her care, and Wright attempted to take an additional $2,900.

If convicted, Wright faces up to 20 years behind bars and a $20,000 fine.  As with all cases, the charges are accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case is being investigated by David Domino and Auditor Gilda Reyes and will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Sue Perry of the Miss. Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

 


Forrest County Caregiver Arrested for Abuse of a Vulnerable Person

September 3, 2015

Stacey Ford, 37, of Hattiesburg, has been arrested for abuse of a vulnerable person, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Ford is facing charges of one felony count of abuse of a vulnerable person. The charges stem from an investigation by the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office with assistance from the Forrest County Sheriff’s Department. The investigation revealed that Ford was physically abusing a resident while working as a direct care worker at a home for the mentally challenged in Forrest County.

Ford was booked into the Forrest County jail and is awaiting his initial appearance. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.  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 Kelly Edgar with assistance from the Forrest County Sheriff’s Department and will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Treasure Tyson of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

 


Natchez Woman Indicted for Exploitation of Vulnerable Person

September 2, 2015

An Adams county woman has been indicted on charges of exploitation of a vulnerable person announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Evelyn Whatley, 58, turned herself in Tuesday to the Adams County Sheriff’s office following an indictment by the Adams County Grand Jury on one count of exploitation of a vulnerable person. The indictment alleges that Whatley was financially exploiting the victim while acting as her care taker. Whatley is accused of making numerous unauthorized transactions from two separate bank accounts belonging to the victim. Whatley fraudulently converted over $250 to her own use between November 2014 and February 2015.

Whatley is being held at the Adams County Detention Center with no bond set. If convicted, she faces up to 10 years behind bars and a $10,000 fine.

The case is being investigated by Russell Frazier of the Attorney General’s Vulnerable Adult Unit.  The case will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Rachel Emfinger.

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

 


Ocean Springs Resident Going to Prison for Felony Exploitation of a Vulnerable Person

September 1, 2015

An Ocean Springs resident is going to prison after pleading guilty to felony exploitation of a vulnerable person, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

In Jackson County Circuit Court this morning, Judge Kathy King Jackson sentenced Kevin J. Kirk, 55, to 10 years on one count of exploitation, with five years to serve in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, followed by five years of post-release supervision.  Kirk was also fined $1,500 and ordered to pay $221,950 in restitution.

The Attorney General’s investigation showed that Kirk was initially hired as a contractor to repair damage on an elderly woman’s house. He started spending more time with her, acting as her caretaker. He gained the trust of the family and was given the Power of Attorney. Her grandson, who was recently made a signatory on all of her bank accounts, discovered that substantial amounts of money exceeding $100,000 were withdrawn from the account. Kirk admitted to taking money from her which resulted in a financial loss of approximately $221,950.

“We do not tolerate abuse of our vulnerable residents in our state and anyone caught committing such a crime will be put behind bars,” said Attorney General Hood. “I thank Judge King for holding this man liable for paying back everything he took from the victim.” 

This case was investigated by Jamie Thompson prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Marvin L. Sanders of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division.

 


Attorney General Reminds Parents to be Aware of Their Child’s Actions Online

September 1, 2015

Attorney General Jim Hood reminds parents to be aware of what our young people are doing online as the new school year is underway.

“Parents, you should familiarize yourself with today’s new and popular social media sites and apps that are being utilized by our young people on a daily basis,” said Attorney General Hood. “Be conscious of what is being posted on the internet by your own child as well as by their friends.”

Attorney General Hood said, “The inundation of social media apps and sites among our students today allows many of the social distresses and conflicts encountered at school to carry over into the virtual world after school. Various apps and sites allow users to post comments anonymously giving anyone the chance to say anything, even if it is harmful to another person. Students believe they are hiding behind the anonymity of the internet. This often provides more opportunities for cyberbullying to occur and can lead to uncomfortable learning environments at school.”

Cyberbullying takes place when one child or teen uses the internet, cellphone or other types of social media to harass, embarrass or taunt another person. Cyberbullying can be used to get revenge or help boost one’s self-esteem by putting others down. Some bully others online because they think it’s funny and do not understand the repercussions it can have on a person’s life.

“Be on alert for bullying behaviors exhibited by your child online or at school, whether they are the bully or being bullied,” said Attorney General Hood. “If you discover that your child is the bully, get to the root of the behavior and end it before someone gets hurt.”

Mississippi cyberstalking laws make it a felony to use electronic communication to threaten or harass someone online. Mississippi Code Ann. § 97-45-17 (2013) underlines that a person shall not post a message for the purpose of causing injury to another person. Anyone violating this law can receive a felony conviction and up to five years in prison.

Attorney General Hood concludes, “I want to encourage parents and teachers to take an active role in helping to inform our children and students that posting messages with the intent to cause anyone harm is intolerable in this state and has grave consequences.”

More information and additional resources for cyber safety, including our “What Parents Should Know: Cyberbullying” brochure, can be found at www.agjimhood.com.

 


Senatobia Nurse Charged with Illegally Obtaining Patient’s Drugs

August 28, 2015

A Senatobia nurse is facing charges she took controlled substances away from patients, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Samantha Livingston, 27, of Senatobia, turned herself into authorities today after being indicted by a Marshall County Grand Jury on two counts of acquiring or obtaining possession of a controlled substance or prescription “by misrepresentation, fraud and the like.” At the time the crimes are alleged to have been committed, Livingston was working as an LPN at a rehab in Byhalia. The indictment alleges that Livingston signed out approximately 40 hydrocodone with acetaminophen, which were prescribed to two different patients of the facility, and converted the pills for her own use.

She was booked into the Marshall County jail and released on a $5,000 bond. She faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and $2,000 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 by Norman Young and will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Sue Perry of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

 


Natchez Man Going to Prison for Possession of Cocaine and Felony Fleeing

August 26, 2015

A Natchez man is going to prison for possession of cocaine and fleeing from law enforcement, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Willie Herman Lewis, 40, appeared before Judge Forrest A. Johnson in Adams County Circuit Court on Tuesday. Lewis pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a schedule II controlled substance and one count of felony fleeing. Lewis was charged as a subsequent drug offender. Judge Johnson sentenced Lewis to 16 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with eight suspended and five years of post-release supervision for possession of a controlled substance. Lewis received five years for fleeing from law enforcement. Both sentences will run concurrently, meaning Lewis will serve a total of eight years behind bars.

Lewis admitted to fleeing from law enforcement, running a stop sign, reckless driving and refusing to stop. When the vehicle became stuck on a steep hill, law enforcement agents took Lewis into custody. Agents found 3.9 grams of cocaine in Lewis’s vehicle.

The case was investigated by Ronnie Odom and prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Rachel Emfinger following recusal by the District Attorney’s Office. 

 


Tupelo Woman Arrested for Felony Exploitation of a Vulnerable Person

August 24, 2015

A Tupelo resident has been arrested following an indictment for felony exploitation of a vulnerable person, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Brandi Smith, 31, of Tupelo, turned herself in to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Friday following the indictment by a Lee County Grand Jury for one count of Felonious Exploitation of a Vulnerable Person.  The indictment alleges that while Smith was employed as a nurse aide at an assistant living facility in Saltillo, Miss., she obtained over $250 from two residents without authorization and fraudulently converted it to her own use.

If convicted, Smith faces up to 10 years behind bars.  As with all cases, the charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case is being investigated by Joe Sanderson and prosecuted by Myrick Jackson of the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office Medicaid Control Fraud Unit.