Moss Point police, utility departments being investigated for po - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Moss Point police, utility departments being investigated for possible fraud

Moss Point City Hall (Photo source: WLOX) Moss Point City Hall (Photo source: WLOX)
MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) -

The Office of the State Auditor is investigating the Moss Point police and utility departments for potential fraud.

Alderman Wayne Lennep said investigators are combing through records at both the utility department and the police department. The questions they’re trying to answer focus on fraud and misappropriation of funds allegations. Lennep said the people linked to the allegations no longer work for the City of Moss Point.

Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Billy Broomfield released the following statement to the media about the investigation: 

It is with much regret that I inform the public that the City has recently discovered incidents of potential fraud and misappropriation of funds in the Moss Point Utilities Department and the Moss Point Police Department. Just recently, the Finance Director discovered some discrepancies in the accounting for the utility department. Once found, the City immediately contacted the District Attorney, Tony Lawrence, who then contacted the State Auditor’s office. At this time, the matter has been turned over to the criminal investigation division with the Mississippi State Auditor’s office. The City is fully complying with the investigation. There have been no findings issued to date.
During the change in leadership, the interim Chief, Brandon Ashley, requested bank statements related to a fund set up independently by the Moss Point Police Department for use in Police related events such as "Night Out Against Crime" and other police functions. This police fund only had two signatories on the account, which did not include the Mayor, City Clerk, or any of the Board of Aldermen members. Once the City received the bank statements, it became apparent that the fund was being used for items unrelated to police sponsored events. As such, the City contacted the criminal investigator with the Mississippi State Auditor’s office. The City is fully complying with the investigation. There have been no findings issued to date. The employees listed as signatories on the account are no longer employed by the City of Moss Point.
I would like the Citizens of Moss Point to know that this Administration will take all steps possible to ensure that these individuals are prosecuted.

The Jackson County District Attorney’s Office was contacted by someone at Moss Point City Hall. 

“We reached out to the State Auditor’s Office to look into the matter,” said a representative from the District Attorney’s Office. 

The district attorney won’t say which member of the Moss Point administration contacted his office.

Alderman Lennep said his board will help Mayor Billy Broomfield in any way possible to help the city sort through the facts and get Moss Point moving in the right direction again. 

“If he needs any action from the legislative branch,” Lennep said. “We stand ready.”

This investigation comes a little more than a month after a major shakeup within the Moss Point Police Department. Former police chief Art McClung submitted his resignation letter on Sept. 13, exactly one week after he was terminated by the board of aldermen.

McClung came under heavy fire from the community after dash cam footage surfaced showing his encounter with Pascagoula police on July 29.

The video shows McClung was pulled over in his city issued police cruiser after allegedly speeding on Hwy. 90 while driving under the influence. Officers in the video can be heard saying McClung was going 109 mph and he was “toast.” 

During the change in leadership, interim Police Chief Brandon Ashley requested bank statements related to a fund set up independently by the Moss Point Police Department for use in police related events, such as Night Out Against Crime and other police functions.

This police fund only had two signatories on the account, which did not include the mayor, city clerk, or any of the board of aldermen members.

Once the city received the bank statements, it became apparent the fund was being used for items unrelated to police sponsored events. The city then contacted the criminal investigator with the Mississippi State Auditor's Office.

The city is fully complying with the investigation. There have been no findings issued to date.

The employees listed as signatories on the account are no longer employed by the City of Moss Point.

Copyright 2016 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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