State Auditor speaks to Hattiesburg Rotary Club
“What I want to try to do is to build a groundswell of support for swift prosecutions, for stiffer penalties”
PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - State Auditor Shad White came to the Hattiesburg Rotary Club meeting on Tuesday afternoon to talk about the work his office did in 2021 and some of his goals for 2022.
“In 2021, The State Auditor’s Office issued the largest demand that has ever been issued in the history of the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor. We saw a civil settlement that was the largest civil settlement resulting from state orders investigation in the history of the Mississippi State Auditor. So, we’ve had a banner year doing our job, and my real mission for 2022 is to build on that success, to add some more investigators to our team and carry that success toward trying to close out some of the bigger cases that we’ve had in the pipeline for 12 months or so,” said White.
In addition, the office recovered and returned $1.4 million dollars of taxpayer money in 2021. White explains that his office holds people accountable for spending state money and he believes anyone who fraudulently spends or steals state funds should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
“For me, part of the purpose of going out and doing meetings like this is, one, share news about what we’re doing to hear about people’s concerns and communities. I’ll be honest and say that a lot of times when I do talks like this at the end of it, someone will come up to me and they’ll say, hey, I need to talk to you privately about something I know about. And so that’s how we hear about a lot of cases that ultimately result in prosecution,” said White.
He also says cracking down on crime in all areas is a part of his 2022 hopes for the state. White believes quick prosecutions and the applicable penalties for crimes will make a better Mississippi.
“Jackson had a higher number of homicides per capita this year than any other major city in the United States. That’s a problem. And, one of the things I’m talking about around the state is we need tougher enforcement of our criminal laws here in the state of Mississippi, specifically in Jackson when it comes to violent crime but also when it comes to the cases that we’re working on in the State Auditor’s Office. We investigate cases all the time and, unfortunately, sometimes we see that individuals will plead guilty and they’ll ultimately be given a slap on the wrist and sometimes that means that they can go back out and steal more money from more taxpayers in the future,” said White.
White said it’s easy to make a report to his office for investigation, and it’s a good idea to say something if you suspect something is wrong.
“What I want to try to do is to build a groundswell of support for swift prosecutions for stiffer penalties, whether that’s stealing public money or violence in Jackson, whatever it may,” said White.
You can read more about reporting fraud to the state auditor’s office here.
Copyright 2022 WDAM. All rights reserved.