Former Alcorn County supervisor, 3 others sentenced in fraud case

September 9, 2015 in News, The Buzz

Jimmy "Dal" Nelms

Jimmy “Dal” Nelms

CORINTH, Miss. (AP) — A former Alcorn County supervisor, a former purchasing clerk and two vendors pleaded guilty Tuesday to state charges in a public corruption case, the state auditor and a prosecutor said.

“Today’s events send a loud and clear message that the citizens of this district will no longer tolerate acts of corruption from the officials they place in positions of trust,” District Attorney John Weddle said in a news release.

Former supervisor Jimmy “Dal” Nelms pleaded guilty to false representation to defraud government, fraudulently obtaining public funds and embezzlement. Nelms was sentenced to 30 years in prison, with 18 suspended. He was also ordered to pay $308,244 in restitution, $5,000 in fines and $3,158 in court costs.

Former purchasing clerk William Paul Rhodes pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution, fraudulently obtaining public funds and false representation to defraud government. He was sentenced to 15 years, with 10 suspended. He was also ordered to pay $72,466 in restitution, $5,000 in fines and $1,885 in court costs. Rhodes awaits sentencing in U.S. District Court in Oxford, where he pleaded guilty to mail fraud Sept. 3. A news release from state Auditor Stacey Pickering said Rhodes’ federal sentence is expected to run at the same time as his state prison time.

Jimmy Ray Mitchell, a vendor, pleaded guilty Tuesday to fraudulently obtaining public funds and false representation to defraud government. He received five years. He was ordered to pay $95,382 in restitution and $1,263 in court costs. Pickering said Mitchell’s $5,000 in fines were suspended.

Another vendor, Danny Roy Peters, pleaded guilty to false representation to defraud government. He was sentenced to five years in a Mississippi Department of Corrections intensive supervision program and was ordered to pay $5,000 in fines and $632 in court costs.

One more defendant was scheduled to appear Wednesday before Circuit Judge Paul Funderburk, the news release said.

Pickering said taxpayers deserved to know their money is not being squandered by elected officials or others dealing with public contracts.

“I hope the sentencing of these individuals serves as a wake-up call for those who are betraying their public oaths,” Pickering said. “We will uncover the truth, and violators will be held accountable.”