JACKSON, Miss. – Alcorn County Sheriff Charles Rinehart and the owners of a car dealership have been arrested following a ten count indictment each for fraud and conspiracy.
State Auditor Stacey Pickering said Monday an investigation by his office found that the sheriff’s department purchased six cars from Cars for Less over the past three years. Pickering said dealership owners Teddy and Pamela Null created fraudulent quotes representing other vendors to ensure their company was the lowest bidder. Those quotes were given to Rinehart, who submitted them to the Alcorn County Board of Supervisors as competitive quotes for vehicle purchases, trade in and sale transactions. Some of the vehicles were salvaged and rebuilt with potentially stolen parts. But Pickering said the Nulls did not disclose the condition of several vehicles during the bid or sale process.
“Based on our investigation, Sheriff Rinehart used his position to manipulate the system,” said Pickering. “Teddy Null and Pamela Denise Null conspired with the Sheriff to ensure their company received the Sheriff’s business, while not disclosing the condition of all the salvage vehicles to the County. In addition, our investigation has uncovered questions relating to the business operations at Cars for Less in Alcorn County. The behavior of the Sheriff and this vendor is deplorable and will not be tolerated.”