Former state senator sentenced on embezzlement charges

Former state senator sentenced on embezzlement charges

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Former state senator Tommy Robertson was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison for allegedly taking more than $484,000 from Singing River Federal Credit Union. He'll actually only spend two years behind bars; The other eight will be served under post-release supervision.

In addition to the prison time, Robertson was ordered to pay court costs, a $1000 fine, and $250 to the victims compensation fund. He was also assessed the remainder of the restitution he owes.

Officials with Singing River Federal Credit Union said Robertson's arrest in 2015 came as a shock to them. Robertson represented Singing River Federal Credit Union as board attorney for more than 25 years. Part of his duties included closing real estate loans.

At the time of his arrest, Singing River Federal Credit Union President and CEO Jimmy Smith said Robertson was considered "a trusted friend of our credit union."

"He was one that we obviously depended on with all of our legal matters for many years, so clearly this was a tremendous shock."

Robertson was indicted on five counts of embezzlement, after an investigation that started in 2013. SRFCU CEO Jimmy Smith explained how the missing money was first discovered.

"Whenever a loan is closed, that money is turned over in trust to the attorney," Smith said. "That money, after a three day right to retention, would come back to the credit union."

In April of 2013, Smith said something strange happened.

"I received a telephone call from his secretary that informed me she had been abruptly let go by Mr. Robertson, which puzzled us because we had not heard from him," Smith said.

Credit union leaders were trying to contact Robertson about a large construction loan that had been closed.

"We never got the check back from him, which is the proper procedure," Smith said. "We realized then something was not correct, so with that we began digging."

Smith said an investigation revealed money was missing from four other smaller loan closings.

"One, for example, was taxes that he needed to pay that was taken out of the proceeds from the loan closing. We learned those were never paid," Smith said.

Insurance covered most of the $484,092 missing, but Smith said the credit union did have to absorb a significant amount of the losses.

"None of the members took any loss as a result of this," Smith said. "We fully restored immediately any funds and made good, so this was very transparent to any of our members."

This wasn't Robertson's first run in with the law. In 1997, he pleaded guilty to a DUI charge in Biloxi. He was arrested again for DUI in 2003, following an Ole Miss football game. He was found guilty in that case, fined $633 and ordered to complete an alcohol safety class.

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