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Former Moss Point mayor begins serving 30-month sentence in federal prison

Former Moss Point Mayor Mario King gives an impromptu press conference following his sentencing...
Former Moss Point Mayor Mario King gives an impromptu press conference following his sentencing hearing on July 22, 2021. King was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison, followed by three years supervised released. During that press conference, King said he plans on writing a book while in prison.
Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 9:05 AM CDT
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EL RENO, Okla. (WLOX) - Former Moss Point Mayor Mario King is now serving a nearly three-year sentence at a federal prison in Oklahoma.

Mario King and his wife Natasha each pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Mario was sentenced in July to 30 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release. The judge gave him 60 days to turn himself in at a federal facility.

King is currently serving his sentence at FCI El Reno, a federal institution in El Reno, Oklahoma, that contains roughly 1,000 male inmates.

Natasha King was sentenced to probation, which was the recommendation of prosecutors. Mario was ordered to pay $8,000 in fines, and Natasha was ordered to pay $5,500. The couple are jointly ordered to pay $6,937 in restitution.

Federal Judge Sul Ozerden sentenced Mario to extended jail time after the former mayor failed to uphold the agreement of his pre-sentencing guidelines, which were filed in February 2020. Prosecutors presented hundreds of pages of evidence at the July sentencing hearing showing that the Kings had not been transparent about their purchase of a home in Texas.

Judge Ozerden agreed and likened their actions to those that landed the Kings in hot water in the first place, saying the intent was very similar: The Kings started an LLC then used it as a means to defraud someone for personal gain. In Texas, the victim was the mortgage company. In Moss Point, it was the taxpayers and residents who donated to the Kings’ fundraiser through their Rejuvenation LLC.

The Kings were arrested in 2020 and initially charged with 13 counts of aiding and abetting wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government through wire fraud. The couple negotiated a plea deal allowing them to admit to just one count each of wire fraud.

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, including a down payment on a new car, cash withdrawals, and paying credit card charges that were used to purchase a designer dog breed.

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