Jones County clerk sentenced to 12 years for embezzlement - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Jones County clerk sentenced to 12 years for embezzlement

JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - State Auditor Stacey Pickering announced today Natalie Brooke Ward, former deputy Chancery Clerk in Jones County, has pleaded guilty to embezzlement and was sentenced to 12 years, five suspended, with seven to serve in a Mississippi prison.

Ward's guilty plea follows an investigation into the missing funds from the Jones County Land Redemption account. Investigators determined Ward diverted funds for her personal use from the account from November 2004 to January 2008.

Ward was also issued a demand from the State Auditor in the amount of $307,985 for funds missing from the Land Redemption Account. The demanded amount includes $57,271 in interest and $32,689 in investigative costs incurred by the State Auditor's Office.

"I appreciate the effort of District Attorney Tony Buckley in presenting this case to the Jones County Grand Jury and his work on the plea agreement presented today," said State Auditor Stacey Pickering. "This case involved a large figure of embezzled funds and represents a commitment to holding individuals accountable for stealing taxpayer money."

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