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Pickering returns funds to city, fire department



BATESVILLE — State Auditor Stacey Pickering has returned $30,000 in recovered funds to two agencies in Panola County.

The city of Sardis received $21,204 following the investigation of former city clerk Odessa Johnson.

Pickering says Johnson embezzled $28,033 from the city from January 2006 through April 2009. In 2012, she was sentenced to nearly three years in prison and five years’ probation. She was ordered to pay $30,620 in restitution. She has repaid $5,000.

Coles Point Volunteer Fire Department in Batesville received $10,000. The funds were recovered from an embezzlement investigation of Martha Chrestman, a former secretary and treasurer for the department’s board of commissioners.

Pickering says Chrestman embezzled $30,973 over a four-year period. In January, she pleaded guilty to embezzlement and is to be sentenced on April 10.

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