BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Harrison County assistant tax collector Denise Gill is now on administrative leave after being charged with fraud.
WLOX reported on Wednesday that Gill was still working in the tax collector’s office despite being charged two weeks ago with a felony charge of submitting fraudulent requests.
Those requests reportedly included mileage reimbursement for travel in her personal vehicle between August 2017 and April 2018 and submitting false overtime work.
Thursday morning, county tax collector David LaRosa reached out to WLOX to let us know that Gill’s last full day working in the office was Wednesday. He said she is now on administrative leave, where she will remain until her case is heard in court.
LaRosa, who is running for re-election, spoke Wednesday as an incumbent candidate and guest speaker at the D’Iberville Business Club meeting.
But he wasn’t prepared to talk about details regarding the arrest of assistant tax collector Denise Gill when asked.
“That’s a personnel matter, and that’s a legal matter,” LaRosa said to the group. “And I certainly don’t have the right to get involved in that. I really can’t. I know a lot, but I really can’t get into it, and it wouldn’t be fair of me. And also, it could put me in a risk - put me in a liability myself from all kind of angles by addressing that.”
Off-camera, LaRosa said Gill has not been fired, has not been put on administrative leave, and is currently working in the tax collector’s office despite the felony charges. He said there was no requirement to put Gill on administrative leave and that she was “innocent until proven guilty.”
Gill was arrested two weeks ago and 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.
LaRosa has not been happy, and he hinted that politics could be involved.
“It’s awful,” he told the group. “And the fact that it showed up three weeks before the election makes it triple awful.”
One member was hoping for more information.
“I feel like they should keep us updated on what’s going on instead of keeping it hush-hush and leaving us in the dark about what’s going on in the offices over there,” said Christine Weber. “It’s a big deal.”
And what does she think about Gill still working in the office?
“I am worried about that,” she said. “Yes.”
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.