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Making Your Money Safe: Public Fraud Charges Against Former County Administrator in Pay Scheme

PHILADELPHIA, Miss.–Hundreds of thousands of dollars taken from taxpayers has led to the arrest of former Neshoba County administrator Benjie Coats. He turned himself in this week after being indicted by a grand jury in a scheme that goes back several years and that got at least three other county employees in trouble.

Coats was charged with one count of public fraud and is out of jail on a $10,000 bond, reported

The scheme involved overtime pay. The three others who were fired by the board of supervisors included Tammy Gomillion, the county payroll clerk; Faye Russell, the former purchasing clerk; and Jill Watkins, the former bookkeeper.

There may have been as much as 30,000 hours of overtime that was not actually worked, charged to the county from 2008 to 2012, by the three and Coats is now implicated in connection to the scheme.

The state auditor ordered the three to pay back $1.3 million.


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