JACKSON, Miss. (WLOX) - A former administrative assistant for the Stone County Utility Authority is accused of embezzling thousands of dollars from residents paying their utility bills.
Shellie Dickens, also known as Shellie Martin, was arrested and issued a $13,492.12 demand letter from the state auditor’s office. That amount includes investigative costs and interest on the money allegedly stolen.
Dickens is accused of embezzling more than $6,000 from December 2016 to May 2017 by taking cash from individuals who were paying their utility bills. Officials say she tried to conceal her actions by manipulating computer records. When accounting inconsistencies were noticed, office management contacted the auditor’s office.
A $50,000 surety bond covered Dickens’ employment at Stone County Utility Authority. A surety bond is similar to insurance designed to protect taxpayers from embezzlement and corruption. Dickens will still remain liable for the full amount of the demand, in addition to facing criminal charges.
If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
If you have a tip regarding illegal activity in state offices, the Mississippi state auditor wants to hear from you. Suspected fraud can be reported online any time by visiting http://www.osa.ms.gov/fraud/ or by calling 1-(800)-321-1275 during normal business hours.