AG on Sprint: We're looking for evidence of a crime'

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
May 16, 2001
A spokesman for Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore said Tuesday he does not know if Sprint Auction Company's bankruptcy proceedings in South Carolina are connected to possible criminal activity.
Scott Leary, special assistant attorney general, said the civil case in South Carolina is separate from the criminal case in Mississippi.
He said officials at the attorney general's office believe the Philadelphia-based Sprint was a "functioning company," but "we're definitely going to investigate to see if the missing money had anything to do with a bankruptcy."
Leary said prosecutors seized the company's records after obtaining a search warrant. The investigation involves complaints from private business owners, individuals and public officials who claimed they had not received payment for equipment auctioned on March 28-29, he said.
Sprint officials filed bankruptcy in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in South Carolina on May 4, according to a recent press release.
Leary said the seized records will not prevent payments to the company's customers as the bankruptcy proceedings unfold.
On the other hand, he said the bankruptcy proceedings will not slow the criminal investigation because "both would proceed independently, but rest assured, both will proceed."
Lauderdale County officials are waiting for a South Carolina company official to release a check for $19,995, County Engineer Neal Carson said.
Mike McGrevey, Kemper County Economic Development Authority executive director, said Kemper County officials' latest transaction with Sprint occurred late last year.
Leary would not name government entities and individuals filing complaints, but he said the Attorney General's staff can copy documents needed for people to receive payments.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3275, or e-mail her at sblackmon@themeridianstar.com.

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