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Former Stone County circuit clerk to spend 5 years behind bars for fraud

Jeffrey O'Neal
Jeffrey O'Neal (photo courtesy of the state auditor's office)

A former Stone County circuit clerk will spend time behind bars for fraud.

Harrison County District Attorney W. Crosby Parker on Tuesday announced that Jeffrey O’Neal pled guilty to two counts of fraud after he gave false statements to the Stone County Board of Supervisors.

An investigation by State Auditor Shad White’s Office found that during O’Neal’s 2016-19 tenure as circuit clerk, he failed to perform a bulk of his statutorily required tasks. It was revealed that the suspect did not compensate the county with over $25,000 in fees during his term in the government position.

O’Neal was also found to have failed to make more than $36,000 in restitution payments to victims of crime. Court-ordered payments would be made to the circuit clerk’s office, but the suspect would reportedly not forward them to the rightful crime victims.

Following the criminal investigation into O’Neal, investigators with the state auditor’s office recovered $86,000 that the former clerk had placed in bank accounts only accessible to him. O’Neal is reported to have kept the money in those accounts even after he lost his reelection instead of giving it back to the local government.

O’Neal has been sentenced to a total of 10 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, but will only spend five years behind bars since half of his time in prison was suspended After his jail time ends, O’Neal will be placed on five years of post-release supervision and ordered to pay a total of $94,351.96 in restitution to Stone County.

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