- Associated Press - Monday, September 29, 2014

VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) - Former Warren County Circuit Clerk Shelly Ashley-Palmertree has been sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to embezzlement.

The Vicksburg Post reports (https://bit.ly/1sLjqKg ) the sentence was handed down Monday after Judge Henry Lackey rejected a plea agreement in which prosecutors recommended five years’ probation for three counts of embezzlement.

“You’ve trampled over the goodness shown to you by the people of this county,” Lackey said before announcing the sentence. “You have spit in the face of every person who voted for you.

“I’ve never sentenced a public official who embezzled from a public treasury to a term that didn’t include incarceration,” he said.

Lackey sentenced the 44-year-old Palmertree to five years in prison and ordered her to pay back $12,000 she embezzled from civil and criminal fee accounts under her care as circuit clerk.

Palmertree will remain free on bail until Oct. 15 when she is to report to jail.

Palmertree was removed from office by county supervisors when evidence surfaced that she had declared residence in Madison County in 2013. The board appointed to the post Greg Peltz, who faces four opponents in a special election to take place alongside other races Nov. 4.

A separate civil case initiated in March 2013 is pending in Hinds County Chancery Court and involves fees collected by Palmertree’s office.

At issue is whether Palmertree owes $671,751 in excessive salary and questionable subcontractor payments to her father and predecessor in office, Larry Ashley, between 2006 and 2011.

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Information from: The Vicksburg Post, https://www.vicksburgpost.com


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