JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - State Auditor Shad White announced on Tuesday that his office returned $52,780.09 to Mississippi taxpayers last month, after investigations by the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor determined public funds were stolen or misused. A significant amount was recovered from Chris Smith, who was issued a demand letter in January 2019.
The State Auditor’s Office recovered $25,000 in February from Smith, the former director of accounting and finance at the Mississippi Board of Animal Health.
He received a demand letter after investigators determined he paid personal C-Spire, DirecTV, Entergy and Atmos Energy bills, using a government procurement card. While the principal loss has been repaid, Smith is still responsible for interest and investigative cost of the case.
“You work hard for your money, and you expect those handling your tax dollars to spend it properly,” said State Auditor White. “Returning that money to its proper use is the most important function my office has.”
Since being appointed in July 2018, State Auditor White has issued demands for nearly $3.5 million in stolen or misspent public money on behalf of Mississippi taxpayers. Once recovered by the Auditor’s office, the money is returned to the agencies, counties, municipalities or other government entities to which it belongs.
Fraud and embezzlement can be reported to the Office of the State Auditor online by clicking the red button or via telephone during normal business hours at 1-800-321-1275.