Former Jones Co. road worker sentenced for embezzlement, conspiracy

Graham was also ordered to pay full restitution, a $3,000 fine and all court costs associated...
Graham was also ordered to pay full restitution, a $3,000 fine and all court costs associated with the embezzlement and conspiracy charges.(State Auditor Shad White)
Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 4:56 PM CDT
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JONES COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - A former Jones County Road Department foreman pleaded guilty to embezzlement and conspiracy charges in the county earlier this week.

The announcement of the plea was made by State Auditor Shad White Thursday.

According to the State Auditor’s Office, Roland Graham and co-conspirator, Larry Barnes, were arrested by Special Agents from the Auditor’s office in July 2020. Both men allegedly used Jones County equipment and personnel to perform demolition work for a private contractor and directed fees from the work to be billed to the county.

Both Graham and Barnes were indicted on conspiracy charges, with Graham also indicted for fraud or embezzlement.

A third conspirator, Esau Moffett, was arrested by Special Agents after being indicted for hindering prosecution after allegedly joining the operation to tear down a private residence.

In the court documents, Jones County Circuit Judge Dal Williamson sentenced Graham to eight years in the Mississippi Department of Corrections’ custody. Due to his status as a habitual offender, Graham will serve 30 months of the sentence day-to-day in prison, and he will be held on probation afterward.

Graham was also ordered to pay full restitution, a $3,000 fine and all court costs associated with the embezzlement and conspiracy charges.

During his court appearance this week, Graham also pleaded guilty and was sentenced for another unrelated criminal charge.

“We will continue to ensure that taxpayer resources are only used for the benefit of the taxpayer,” said White. “Thank you to the investigators and prosecutors who worked this case diligently.”

A previous guilty plea and sentencing order for Barnes was done this year in January. Both his and Graham’s cases were prosecuted by the Jones County District Attorney’s Office in Williamson’s courtroom.

The State Auditor’s Office has already recovered $14,139 in this case, and the money has been returned to the appropriate deserving establishments.

Suspected fraud can be reported to the Auditor’s Office online by clicking the red button at www.osa.ms.gov or by telephone during regular business hours at 1-(800) 321-1275.

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