JACKSON, Miss. (WDAM) – State Auditor Shad White announced Monday that public employees who embezzle or fraudulently obtain more than $10,000 of taxpayer money will no longer be able to participate in a pretrial diversion program.
The announcement comes after Senate Bill 2552 was passed by both chambers of the Legislature and signed by the governor.
“This year, at my request, the Legislature passed a bill to toughen the penalties on people who steal taxpayer dollars, and the governor has now signed it into law,” White said in a release. “I want to thank Rep. Nick Bain (R-District 2), Sen. Daniel Sparks (R-District 5), legislative leadership and the governor for their work making this bill the law of the land.”
Pretrial diversion programs have been used as a way to prevent a conviction for a crime from appearing on a person’s criminal record.
When SB 2552 becomes law on July 1, two of the most common crimes investigated by the State Auditor’s office will be added to the list of those crimes ineligible for pretrial diversion.
This law will complement a 2019 law which prevents people convicted of embezzlement from holding public office.
The full text of the bill is on the Legislature’s website.
“I will continue to work for you in holding fraudsters accountable,” White said, “but I will also work with the Legislature and the governor to forge agreements between them and improve our laws as well.”