COAHOMA COUNTY, MS (WMC) - Two employees are accused of embezzling nearly $1 million from a Mid-South community college.
The Mississippi state auditor Shad White said the embezzlement happened at Coahoma County Community College. The alleged crime was so large, it will go down as one of the biggest cases in state history.
White demanded the two employees repay the $981,000 they're accused of embezzling.
"This makes this the 3rd largest individual embezzlement demand coming from our office in the last 20 years," White said. "And really our records only go back so far. It could be much further than that."
The investigation found between 2013 and 2017, two purchasing department employees at the college turned government procurement cards into gift cards at retailers like Walmart and Amazon.
During that period, the auditor said, the employees used those gift cards to buy items like shoes, watches, and even a chandelier.
"The reason this particular embezzlement scheme was so hard to catch is because this was a conspiracy between multiple people," White said.
The case took a full year to investigate. White said another employee discovered suspicious bookkeeping and called in a tip.
"So if you see somebody who is making this salary but they're living at this life style, there's probably something wrong," White said.
The auditor's office advises breaking down different purchasing responsibilities to several people to avoid this from happening.