• Former workers arrested for embezzling nearly $1 million from Mississippi community college

    By: Tom Dees


    CLARKSDALE, Miss. - Two former Coahoma County Community College employees are facing criminal charges after investigators said they embezzled $750,000.

    According to Mississippi auditors, the suspects spent the money on shoes, watches and chandeliers.

    RELATED: Former employees caught embezzling nearly $1 million from Mississippi community college

    FOX13 spoke with students on campus, who cannot make it sense of it and are calling the suspects' actions 'selfish.'

    The students said the money could have gone to things that would better the community college.

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    Columbus Ford, a freshman criminal justice major at the school, told FOX13 he has been following the case and is worried that the amount stolen will affect the community college.

    "It hurts the University because they are taking money for books and teachers' money and everything they could use it to bring more students in, to make our school better and more popular around the area," Ford said.

    According to the Mississippi state auditor's office, both Gwendolyn Jefferson and Staci Neal were arrested on embezzlement and conspiracy charges earlier this week.

    The pair, according to the state auditor's office, allegedly used checks and credit cards to buy gift cards and then used those gift cards to purchase shoes, watches, and chandeliers, among other things over a four year period from 2013 to 2017.

    "I think that they are wrong for stealing that money, because we really need that money to be a successful school," Lindsay Gordon, a student said.

    Gordon called it more than criminal.

    "I think that they are selfish for taking all of that money just to buy all those things for themselves," Gordon said.

    Ford called the situation 'tragic.'

    "I am not going to say they deserve what they are getting, but they need to have some kind of punishment for what they did," he said.

    According to court documents, a college official found out about Jefferson and Neal’s scheme because they forgot to conceal the record of a purchase.

    According to the Mississippi state auditor's office, Jefferson and Neal could spend up to 30 years in prison if convicted and the two may have to repay almost a million dollars.

    Both Jefferson and Neal are free on bond. Through public records FOX13 was able to find out where they live, but no one was home at either residence.

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