HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Denise Gill, the assistant tax collector for Harrison County, has been arrested for four separate felony charges of false representation to defraud the government.
Gill is accused of submitting fraudulent requests for mileage reimbursement for travel in her personal vehicle between August 2017 and April 2018 and submitting false overtime work.
Investigators say neither Gill nor any other employee of the tax collector’s office actually received any of the fraudulently reported travel expenses.
A demand letter worth $19,821.50 was delivered to Gill at the time of her arrest. A portion of the demand issued to Gill is to repay some of the salary she was paid in 2016 and 2017. State law prohibits the salary of an assistant tax collector from exceeding those of the elected tax collector in the county. Because Gill allegedly performed overtime work, the total salary she received exceeded the statutory limit by more than $9,000.
This portion of the demand is unrelated to the criminal charges, but interest and investigative costs were included in the total demand amount.
“Ms. Gill breached the public trust by taking advantage of her position with Harrison County,” said State Auditor White. “The victims are the taxpayers of Harrison County, and I’m glad her theft of public funds has been put to a stop. Others who may be doing similar things around the state need to know we are out there watching.”
Gill was arrested and booked into the Harrison County jail Monday around 3:47 p.m. The State Auditor’s office made the arrest. Her bond was set at $5,000 per charge totaling $20,000.
If convicted, Gill faces up to 20 years in prison and $40,000 in fines.
A $50,000 surety bond covers Gill’s employment. A surety bond is similar to insurance designed to protect taxpayers from embezzlement and corruption. Gill will remain personally liable for the full amount of the demand, in addition to criminal charges.
Gill has since bonded out of jail.