HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Five former DMR employees turned themselves in at the Harrison County jail on Thursday. Each is accused of embezzlement and named in an indictment returned by a Harrison County grand jury this week.
Read the full multi-count state indictment: http://bit.ly/1auCwVa
The embezzlement counts accuse them of submitting false travel vouchers and in one case, using a gas card for personal use. The defendants include Kerwin Cuevas, Susan Perkins, Tina Shumate, Leslie Gollott and Grant Larsen.
Tina Shumate faces the most charges among the five former employees: Five counts of embezzlement and one count of tampering with a witness.
She directed the CIAP program for the DMR, the Coastal Impact Assistance Program which came under scrutiny during the ongoing investigation into financial practices at the department.
Her attorney welcomes the opportunity to clear her name.
"We look forward for an opportunity to get in a courtroom where we can get to the truth is the main thing we're looking at. I can tell you without a doubt that Tina Shumate never embezzled one nickel from DMR or anybody else. We look forward to the opportunity to prove that in a courtroom," said attorney Tim Holleman.
Shumate's former administrative assistant, Leslie Gollott, is charged with two counts of embezzlement. She is represented by attorney Keith Pisarich, who had no comment about the case.
Kerwin Cuevas directed the artificial reef program for the DMR. He too faces two counts of embezzlement and is represented by Donald Rafferty.
"Look forward to our opportunity to defend my client and we look forward to that day whenever it arrives," said attorney Rafferty.
Kerwin Cuevas kept quiet, offering no comment on the charges against him.
Grant Larsen also had no comment. He faces one count of embezzlement.
Susan Perkins was the last of the five to turn herself in. She worked in public relations at DMR among other jobs and also faces two counts of embezzlement. Her attorney did not wish to speak.
All five of the accused were released on bond.