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Auditor returns more than $43,000 to Clarke County

By Staff
RETURNING FUNDS State Auditor Phil Bryant presents a $43,477.46 check on Monday to the Clarke County Board of Supervisors. Attendees at the meeting included, from left, Chancery Clerk Joyce Dew, County Administrator Diane Wright, board attorney Gilford Dabbs II, and Supervisors Paul Mosley and Tony Fleming. The check represents embezzled funds recovered from former county Justice Court Clerk Mary Lynn Fagan. Photo by Carisa McCain/The Meridian Star
By Terry R. Cassreino / assistant managing editor
May 21, 2002
QUITMAN State Auditor Phil Bryant returned more than $43,000 in funds to Clarke County on Monday, most of which had been embezzled by a former Justice Court clerk.
The amount included $33,194.50 in funds Bryant said that Mary Lynn Fagan embezzled from 1997 through 1999. The rest was interest, he said, raising the total to $43,477.46.
Fagan was a deputy Justice Court clerk at the time of her May 2000 arrest following an investigation by Bryant's office.
Justice Courts in Mississippi are charged with collecting fines generated in misdemeanor county cases. They also collect fines on traffic tickets issued by the Mississippi Highway Patrol.
Fagan was convicted in June of three counts of embezzlement. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with eight years suspended and two to serve; she is free pending her appeal.
Paul Mosley, president of the Clarke County Board of Supervisors, praised Bryant's work. Mosley said he and other board members were pleased to receive the check from the auditor.
Mosley, who represents District 4, said the money will go to the county's general fund "and we'll spend it from there."
Bryant and Jesse M. Bingham, director of the investigations division of the state Auditor's Office, said the Fagan case required a lot of work before it could go to trial.
Bingham said investigators from his agency had to determine the problem "and that's a lengthy process. We had to go in and recreate records and figure out what she did."
Bryant said that Fagan was covered under a public officials surety bond; the money recovered for Clarke County came from that bond. The company that issued the bond, in turn, will likely try to recover the money from Fagan.
State Auditor Phil Bryant's office is looking into at least three local embezzlement cases involving the Meridian Police Department, Meridian Regional Airport and Weems Community Mental Health Association.