Mario King sentencing delayed after new fraud allegation
MOSS POINT, Miss. (WLOX) - The former mayor of Moss Point is now being accused of a new instance of fraud, this time in Texas.
Mario King was originally scheduled to be sentenced on his one charge of wire fraud on June 17 in Gulfport. However, a motion for continuance was filed the day before the sentencing after the latest fraud accusation.
According to court documents received earlier this month, federal authorities found reason to allege King committed mortgage fraud in the state of Texas and “has further engaged in behavior that amounts to obstruction of justice.”
King pleaded guilty to a federal charge of wire fraud in February of this year. He resigned as mayor of Moss Point that same day.
He and his wife Natasha King were initially charged with 13 federal charges of aiding and abetting wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government through wire fraud.
Both Mario and Natasha pleaded guilty to one charge.
Neither Mario nor Natasha are formally charged with any new form of fraud, but allegations have been made by authorities.
Natasha’s June 17 sentence has also been delayed.
Just over a year ago Mario and Natash walked out of a Gulfport courthouse where they faced allegations that they solicited funds beginning in 2018 from a benefit gala but did not use that money for its intended purpose, which was to support a mental health program for Moss Point School District.
One of the key pieces of evidence presented by prosecutors was the March 4, 2019, appearance by the Kings on WLOX’s 4 O’clock Show where they promoted the Mayor’s Gala, which was held on March 23 of that year. The indictment accused Mario and Natasha of soliciting funds for the benefit gala but not using that money for its intended purpose, which was to support a mental health program for Moss Point School District. Instead, prosecutors said the Kings used the money to pay various personal expenses.
Judge Sul Ozerden asked Mario King on Wednesday, “Is that, in fact, what happened in this case, Mr. King?”
King’s reply was, “Yes, sir.”
A resignation letter from Mario King to the City Clerk and Board of Alderman was filed with the city Wednesday morning ahead of the court hearing. The letter was short and to the point, consisting of only one sentence: “I, Mario King, do hereby resign my position as Mayor of the City of Moss Point effective Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021.”
This is a developing story and will be updated as new information is received.
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