The State Auditor has issued a demand.
State Auditor Shad White has issued a demand of $33,892 to Chris Smith, the former Director of Accounting and Finance at the Mississippi Board of Animal Health, stemming from embezzlement charges.
During a recent compliance audit of the Board of Animal Health, an auditor discovered irregularities in several transactions. While Smith originally ignored requests for documentation to explain the questioned expenses, White stated that Smith has now admitted to using public funds to pay personal C-Spire, DirecTV, Entergy, and Atmos bills using a government procurement card. From April 2015 to July 2018, Smith allegedly embezzled $24,946.39.
In his role as Director of Accounting and Finance, which he held from 1999 to 2018, Smith performed all transactions for the Board without direct supervision. This allowed him to have unlimited access to procurement cards and the ability to submit purchase and payment records to the state accounting system.
White stated that this case shows the importance of transparency and oversight when it comes to public funds.
“What happened here should serve as a reminder to all of us in state government that we cannot allow one employee to have too much control over purchasing. Responsibilities related to purchasing need to be divided up to prevent this sort of embezzlement from happening,” White said.
Smith could face up to 20 years in prison if he is convicted on the charges.