BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Three former Mississippi Department of Marine Resources employees pleaded guilty in state court to felony charges on Wednesday stemming from their roles in receiving payment for false travel expenses.
Leslie Young Gollott pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement. Gollott admitted that she received payment for travel expenses not incurred in 2009 and failed to return the money. Gollott said this was common practice for which she had been directed by her supervisor. Gollott also claims the supervisor coached her on how to talk to investigators once the investigation into DMR was launched.
Gollott was sentenced to 10 years incarceration with eight years suspended. The court ordered her two years of incarceration be spent on house arrest and that she pay $30,305.22 in restitution. As part of the guilty plea, Gollott must testify in the trails of any other DMR employees.
Susan Perkins pleaded guilty to one count of false pretense. Perkins admitted to receiving payment for travel expenses not incurred in 2011 and failed to return the money. Perkins said her supervisor approached her after the investigation began and told her manufacture false receipts.
Perkins was sentenced to two years of incarceration suspended for two years on probation. She is also required to pay $679.39 in restitution.
Grant Larsen also pleaded guilty to one count of false pretense. Larsen said he took an advance travel payment before an authorized trip in 2008. He said when he returned from the trip, he realized he had been over compensated. Larsen testified he tried to return the money, but was instructed by his supervisor not to do so.
Larsen was sentenced to two years of incarceration suspended for two years of probation.
"Through today's guilty pleas and convictions, these defendants have accepted responsibility for their crimes and been held accountable for their actions," said District Attorney Joel Smith.