CORINTH, Mississippi (AP) — A county purchasing clerk and three vendors in northeast Mississippi’s Alcorn County have pleaded not guilty to corruption charges tied to alleged embezzlement of public money.
Purchasing clerk William Paul Rhodes of Corinth and vendors Jimmy Ray Mitchel of Corinth, Joseph Lin McNair Jr. of Glen and Danny Roy Peters of Corinth entered not guilty pleas Tuesday in circuit court. Judge Jim Pounds scheduled them to be back in court on March 19.
Pounds said county Supervisor Jimmy Dallan “Dal” Nelms will be arraigned March 20 after he hires an attorney. Pounds denied Nelms’ request for a court-appointed attorney.
The five were indicted in December.
Nelms, 42, of Glen, is charged with 156 felony counts, including embezzlement and fraudulently obtaining public funds. Nelms is accused of several illegal actions, including receiving payments from a vendor who sold heavy equipment to the county. Among other things, Nelms is accused of using a county-owned vehicle to take his own boat to and from Arkansas, and of using a county account at Lowe’s to buy items for his home.
Rhodes, 55, of Corinth, is charged with 13 felony counts, including conspiracy to commit embezzlement and hindering prosecution. An investigator for the auditor’s office filed a sworn statement saying Rhodes had photographed some of the auditor’s investigative files and shared them with Nelms.
Mitchell, 43, of Corinth; McNair, 39, of Glen; and Peters, 61, of Corinth, are charged with more than two dozen counts each, including fraudulently obtaining public funds.
The men remained free on bond. Nelms’ bond was $60,000, Rhodes’ was $30,000, Mitchell’s $20,000, and McNair and Peters each had $10,000 bond.