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Ex-housing director asks to be acquitted or get new trial

LELAND — The former director of the South Delta Regional Housing Authority is asking a federal judge to acquit her in a fraud case or grant a new trial.

Ann Jefferson was convicted March 7 in federal court in Aberdeen on two counts of embezzlement, two counts of obstruction of justice and three counts of witness intimidation.

Jefferson was acquitted of lying to a federal agent.

Her attorneys asked for the judge to acquit her or give her a new trial. They say the evidence was insufficient for a conviction.

Prosecutors say Jefferson converted money from several housing authority accounts to her own use. She also was accused of retaliating against two employees and a woman who bought a house from SDRHA after she found out the individuals had been cooperating with federal investigators looking into alleged crimes committed by Jefferson and others.

Court records said Jefferson made work unbearable for one of the witnesses, a broker and accounts payable analyst for her organization, then had her fired. Jefferson verbally abused another employee and withheld her pay, the indictment said.

The organization claims to promote affordable housing in the Mississippi Delta. Its governing board fired Jefferson after she was convicted.

Housing agency attorney Bennie L. Richard has said he is now conducting an investigation to determine what steps can be taken to recoup funds that were stolen.

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