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Ex-MDOT workers sentenced for theft

YAZOO CITY — Six former employees of Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) pled guilty in Circuit Court of Yazoo County following indictments in 2009 for involvement in a well-development corruption ring, the State Auditor’s Office reports.

Joseph C. Gallagher, Gene Edward Taylor, Clarence Shelton, James D. Malone, Ivory Luckett and Dennis Keith Pierce all plead guilty on charges they were involved with a scheme to defraud the taxpayers of Mississippi through several acts handled through the vehicle mechanic shop at the MDOT facility in Yazoo City.

“These six guilty pleas indicate closure to a well-organized corruption ring in Mississippi where employees of the Mississippi Department of Transportation were conspiring to embezzle from the taxpayers of Mississippi,” said State Auditor Stacey Pickering. “The sentencing for these individuals includes very heavy fines along with full-restitution back to MDOT and the State Auditor’s Office.

Pierce embezzled funds from MDOT by receiving payments for false invoices submitted to the agency. Pierce pled guilty to conspiracy and was sentenced to five years of supervised probation, a $20,000 fine to Yazoo County, $273.50 in court costs, $244 to MDOT, $200 to the State Auditor’s Office for investigative costs, all to be paid within 30 days of March 18.

Gallagher embezzled funds from MDOT by knowingly ordering parts for a private party and having the parts billed and paid for by MDOT. Gallagher pled guilty to conspiracy and was sentenced to five years of supervised probation, $10,000 fine to Yazoo County, $257.10 in court costs, $500 in attorney fees, $257.10 to MDOT and $214.25 to the State Auditor’s Office for investigative costs, all to be paid within 90 days of March 19.

Taylor benefited from MDOT’s payment for a part to be used on his personal vehicle Taylor pled guilty to making false entries in public records and was sentenced to five years of supervised probation, $10,000 fine to Yazoo County, $273.50 in court costs, $500 in attorney fees, $583.20 to MDOT and $486 to the State Auditor’s Office for investigative costs, all to be paid within 90 days of March 19.

Shelton embezzled funds from MDOT by approving subordinate employees to work on personal projects while on duty and by acquiring parts for personal vehicles, knowingly having them billed to MDOT and approving payment for the invoices. Shelton pled guilty to embezzlement and conspiracy and was sentenced to two years of Intensive Supervision/House Arrest Program, eight years of supervised probation, $273.50 in court costs, a $7500 fine to Yazoo County, $2303.81 to MDOT, $1913.70 to the State Auditor’s Office for investigative costs, all at a rate of $125 a month beginning May 1.

Malone was investigated, and it was determined that Malone also benefited from a part that was ordered for his personal vehicle and installed by an MDOT employee while working on duty at the agency. Malone pled guilty to conspiracy and was sentenced to five years of supervised probation, $1,000 fine to Yazoo County, $273.50 in court costs, $500 in attorney fees, $87.92 to MDOT, $73.27 to the State Auditor’s Office for investigative costs, all to be paid within the first year of his probation.

Luckett worked on personal property while on duty as an employee of MDOT to perform maintenance on a truck owned by an individual and MDOT’s payment of a part placed on the personal vehicle. Luckett pled guilty to conspiracy and was sentenced to one year of supervised probation, $273.50 in court costs, $500 in attorney fees, $136.16 to MDOT and $108.06 to the State Auditor’s Office for investigative costs all to be paid within the one year of supervised probation.

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