JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A man who spent 16 years serving Mississippi is now facing 70 years in prison. Former state senator Tommy Robertson has been indicted on five counts of embezzlement for allegedly taking more than $484,000 from Singing River Federal Credit Union.
Robertson represented Singing River Federal Credit Union as board attorney for more than 25 years. Part of his duties included closing real estate loans.
"Whenever a loan is closed, that money is turned over in trust to the attorney," Singing River Federal Credit Union President and CEO Jimmy Simth explained. "That money, after a three day right to retention, would come back to the credit union."
In April of 2013, Smith said something strange happened.
"I received a telephone call from his secretary that informed me she had been abruptly let go by Mr. Robertson, which puzzled us because we had not heard from him," Smith said.
Credit union leaders were trying to contact Robertson about a large construction loan that had been closed.
"We never got the check back from him, which is the proper procedure," Smith said. "We realized then something was not correct, so with that we began digging."
Smith said an investigation revealed money was missing from four other smaller loan closings.
"One, for example, was taxes that he needed to pay that was taken out of the proceeds from the loan closing. We learned those were never paid," Smith said.
Insurance covered most of the $484,092 missing, but Smith said the credit union did have to absorb a significant amount of the losses.
"None of the members took any loss as a result of this," Smith said. "We fully restored immediately any funds and made good, so this was very transparent to any of our members."
Robertson has been indicted on five counts of embezzlement. He turned himself in to authorities and has been released on a $50,000 bond.
"I think the indictment shows that the citizens of this county won't stand for corruption, no matter what kind, or who is doing it," Jackson County District Attorney Tony Lawrence said.
"Mr. Robertson was a trusted friend of our credit union," Smith said. "He was one that we obviously depended on with all of our legal matters for many years, so clearly this was a tremendous shock."
This isn't Robertson's first run in with the law. In 1997, he pleaded guilty to a DUI charge in Biloxi. He was arrested again for DUI in 2003, following an Ole Miss football game. He was found guilty in that case, fined $633 and ordered to complete an alcohol safety class.
WLOX News reached out to Robertson's attorney, but he said he didn't want to comment on the pending case.