Jackson Contractor is Going to Prison for Embezzlement by Contract

May 3, 2016
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Attorney General Jim Hood announced today that a Jackson contractor has been sentenced to prison for taking a consumer’s money and failing to complete repairs on a home in Jackson.

Larry Samuels, 59, pleaded guilty Monday in Hinds County Circuit Court to embezzlement under contract. Judge William A. Gowan sentenced Samuels to 10 years in prison, with seven of those years suspended followed by three years post-release supervision. He is also required to pay $2,300 in restitution.

Samuels contracted with a Jackson resident to complete repairs to a home on Wood Glen Drive following a hail storm in March 2013. After he received payment, he never returned to work on the home.

“This unscrupulous contractor made a bad situation much worse for a consumer who simply wanted her home repaired after a severe storm,” Attorney General Hood said. “We have no tolerance for those who would take advantage of consumers in a situation like this, and I appreciate the sentence handed down by Judge Gowan.”

This case was investigated by Investigator Miller Faulk and prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Shaun Yurtkuran of the Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Division. 

 


Hattiesburg Bail Bond Agent Faces Felony Embezzlement Charges

April 22, 2016
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Allen Humphrey, 56, of Hattiesburg, has been arrested for writing $875,000 in fraudulent bonds while employed as a bail bond agent for Mississippi Bonding Company, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Humphrey turned himself in to authorities Thursday following the indictment by a Lamar County Grand Jury on two counts of felony embezzlement. An investigation by the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division uncovered that Humphrey was allegedly embezzling funds while issuing bonds for Mississippi Bonding Company. Humphrey is accused of writing $875,000 in fraudulent bonds, embezzling the company’s proceeds from these bonds and converting the money to his own use.

Humphrey was booked into the Lamar County Jail with a bond set at $45,000. If convicted of both counts, the defendant faces a total of 30 years in custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections and a $50,000 fine. As with all cases, a charge is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case was investigated by Ronnie Odom with the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division and will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Larry Baker.


Jackson Man Going to Prison for Auto Theft

April 22, 2016
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Derrick Thomas, 22, of Jackson, has been sentenced for auto theft, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Thomas appeared Thursday before Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Jeff Weill, Sr., and pleaded guilty to one count of auto theft.  Judge Weill sentenced Thomas to seven years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections with two years suspended and five years to serve followed by two years of post-release supervision. Additionally, Thomas was ordered to pay a $500 assessment to the Crime Victims Compensation Fund.

At the time of the May, 2013 crime, Thomas was at the scene of an altercation which resulted in the death of R.B. Ervin, 66, of Jackson.  Thomas pleaded guilty to participating in stealing the victim’s vehicle.

The case was a joint investigation by Investigator Perry Tate of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division and the Jackson Police Department.  Prosecution of the case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Stanley Alexander.


Jackson Man Going to Prison for Manslaughter and Auto Theft

April 21, 2016
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Randy McKee, 23, of Jackson, has been sentenced for manslaughter and auto theft, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

McKee appeared today before Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Jeff Weill, Sr., and pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter and one count of auto theft.  Judge Weill sentenced McKee to 20 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections for manslaughter and five years to serve for auto theft. The sentences are to run consecutively with a total number of 25 years to serve.

R.B. Ervin, 66, of Jackson, was killed in his home in May 2013 following an altercation with McKee. McKee then stole the victim’s vehicle.

“The reckless violence of this defendant’s crimes ended one life and devastated others,” said Attorney General Hood. “His conviction provides a measure of justice and serves as a warning to others. We thank the Jackson Police Department for their hard work on the case and the strong sentence by Judge Weill.”

The case was a joint investigation by Investigator Perry Tate of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division and the Jackson Police Department.  Prosecution of the case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Stanley Alexander.

 

 


Jackson Man Going to Prison for Depraved Heart Murder

April 21, 2016
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Demonte Finch, 20, of Jackson, has been sentenced for depraved heart murder of a 15-year-old student at a Jackson high school, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Finch appeared Tuesday before Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Jeff Weill, Sr., and pleaded guilty to depraved heart murder.  Judge Weill sentenced Finch to 25 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections with 20 years to serve day-for-day followed by five years of post-release supervision.

Destinee Ford, a 15-year-old freshman student, was killed outside a Jackson high school on the afternoon of Dec. 5, 2013, after classes had been dismissed for the day.  An investigation revealed that Ford was shot during a fight between students.  Finch and two other defendants were charged with her murder.

“We greatly appreciate the Jackson Police Department for making this arrest and the solid sentence by Judge Weill bringing this defendant to justice for the senseless murder of a 15-year-old girl,” said Attorney General Hood.  “Our thoughts and prayers remain with the victim’s family.” 

The case was a joint investigation by Attorney General Investigators Perry Tate and Miller Faulk and the Jackson Police Department.  Prosecution was handled by Special Assistant Attorneys General Patrick Beasley and Alison O’Neal McMinn.

 

 


Attorney General Jim Hood Recognizes Accomplishments of the Houston High School Solar Race Car Team

April 14, 2016
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Houston Solar Race Car TeamAttorney General Jim Hood presented a proclamation today on the Senate floor to team members of the Houston High School Solar Car Race Team, which has  fielded a successful Solar Car Race Team and student built solar race car, the Sundancer,  for more than 14 years.

“I am very proud of this team of young students of Houston High School and their accomplishments,” said Attorney General Hood. “This team is comprised of intelligent, industrious and resourceful young student-engineers, and they were winners before the race ever started. Their hard work and dedication speaks volumes about their abilities, talents and skills.”

The team has won 14 consecutive national championships in the Solar Car Challenge and is the most nationally recognized high school solar car race team in the United States. After its national win last year, the Houston Solar Car Race Team successfully competed in the Bridgestone World Solar Car Challenge in Australia in October. The team and its solar-powered vehicle, Sundancer, successfully completed more solar miles than any entry in their class and more solar miles than nine other teams in another division for a total of 1,525.6 miles during the international competition. The Australia trip is the second in 14 years for the team led by Advisor Keith Reese, a teacher at Houston High School. The team recently earned its fourteenth consecutive national title.

Members of the 2015 Houston Solar Car Team are: Team Captain Allyson Taylor, Lakyn Adams, Summer Carner, Palmer Earnest, Greg Hollingsworth, James Ingram, Matthew Hood, Malik Lawrence, Hunter Moore, Ajay Patel, Hayden Powell, Cody Voyles, Layla Westmoreland and Jackson Whitt. Matthew Hood is Attorney General Hood’s son and a senior at Houston High School, who has been a team member for three years.

In Australia, the team ranked highest in its class and 21st overall, placing higher than university teams, including one from MIT.

“The team successfully negotiated the obstacles and dangers and successfully completed competitions using outstanding techniques, while working exceedingly well together as a team,” said Attorney General Jim Hood. “I commend and honor the Sundancer team for their outstanding achievement in domestic and international competition this year. It should make us proud as Mississippians to see the level of accomplishment attained by students from a small school and small town.”

For more information about the Houston High School Solar Car Race Team, visit their Facebook page, Houston Solar Race Team (Sundancer), Non-Profit Organization, or www.twitter.com/HoustonRaceTeam. Also you can view their blog at www.sundancersolarcar.blogspot.com.


Madison Resident Arrested for Identity Theft and Medicaid Fraud

April 13, 2016
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Brenda Faye Mason, 50, of Madison, has been arrested and faces charges for Medicaid fraud and identity theft, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Mason turned herself in Tuesday to the Madison County Sheriff’s Office following the indictment by a Madison County Grand Jury on multiple counts of Medicaid Fraud and one count of identity theft.

Mason is accused of willfully, unlawfully and feloniously presenting or causing to be presented, claims to Medicaid on behalf of Life Choices Community Health Services, knowing those claims to be false, fictitious or fraudulent. She is also accused of obtaining the personal identity information of a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and using the information to make fraudulent claims to Medicaid for services that were false, fictitious and fraudulent. Claims were in excess of $60,000 for a period from March 2, 2015, through March 31, 2105.

Mason was booked into the Madison County Detention Center and is awaiting her initial appearance.  If convicted of the Medicaid Fraud charges, she faces up to five years per count and 15 years for Identity theft behind bars. Additionally, Mason faces a total of $350,000 in fines for the Medicaid Fraud charges and a $10,000 fine for Identity Theft.  As with all cases, a charge is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case was investigated by Daniel Thomas, George Ferguson, Barrick Fortune, Auditor Gilda Reyes, Tina Bennett, RN, and Program Specialist Richard Cameron, all of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Prosecution will be handled by Special Assistant Attorney General Sue Perry.

 


Attorney General Hosts Crime Victims’ Rights Week Awards Ceremony in Honor of Mississippi Crime Victims and Advocates

April 13, 2016
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In conjunction with National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, Attorney General Jim Hood on Tuesday hosted the crime victims’ rights awards ceremony honoring victims of crime and advocates for victims.

This year’s theme for the ceremony was, “Serving Victims, Building Trust, Restoring Hope”.  During the ceremony, awards were presented to leaders and volunteers who provide exemplary assistance and service to Mississippi crime victims. Attorney General Jim Hood and guest speaker Gov. Phil Bryant commended the efforts and dedication of those who work hard throughout the year to serve victims, survivors of violent crime and their families.

“This is a rewarding area of work and this is an opportunity for us to thank those who work with our victims in Mississippi on a daily basis,” Attorney General Hood said.

Attorney General Hood presented the Amy Clayton Justice Achievement Award to the Office of District Attorney Anthony “Tony” Lawrence III, of the 19th Judicial District (Jackson, George and Greene County).

“This office was nominated by the Gulf Coast Women’s Center for Nonviolence, but I would second that nomination in a heartbeat,” said Attorney General Hood. “Having been down there, seeing the energy in the people who work there and how they successfully protect victims every single day as well as recognizing them, I am proud to have presented this award to District Attorney Tony Lawrence and his staff.”

The Amy Clayton Victim Service Award was presented to Shalotta Sharp, who is employed as a Special Projects Coordinator with the Mississippi Coalition for Sexual Assault. The Amy Clayton Volunteer Service Award was presented to Linda Owens-Simpson, of Jackson, who is a volunteer for Catholic Charities.

The Bureau of Victim Assistance of the Office of the Attorney General presented two awards to Jeffrey A. Klingfuss, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Klingfuss is also a Special Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division. Sgt. Derrick Jordan, who has been with the Jackson Police Department for 15 years, received the Distinguished Service Award.

The Crime Victims Compensation Division, which is housed in the Bureau of Victim Assistance, received 1,169 requests for compensation last year. The Bureau works diligently throughout the year with law enforcement agencies, non-profit organizations and district attorneys’ offices statewide to increase the effectiveness of the criminal justice system, promote the fair and compassionate treatment of victims of crime, ensure victims are afforded their constitutional rights and considerations, and provide financial assistance for victims with losses resulting from injuries or death.

“All of our victim assistant coordinators and volunteers, state agencies, district attorneys’ offices, law enforcement agencies and non-profit organizations work together as a unit,” said Attorney General Hood. “We have a place here, a central hub in Jackson, for all of us to gather and recognize the heartache that many of our victims and families go through, and we are able to share a human touch with victims as we do our best to help them.”

For more information on the services provided by the Bureau of Victim Assistance, please call (800) 829-6766 or (601) 359-6766 or visit www.agjimhood.com.

This year’s ceremony was made possible through partnership with the Mississippi Department of Corrections, Mississippi Coalition for Survivors of Homicide, Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Mississippi Coalition Against Sexual Assault.