- Associated Press - Thursday, August 20, 2015

CORINTH, Miss. (AP) - Alcorn County businessman Doug Essary is the latest to be accused of wrongdoing in an ongoing corruption probe.

The owner of Essary Truck Sales & Parts was arrested Thursday after being indicted on 56 counts of submitting fraudulent documents and four counts of conspiracy to fraudulently obtain public funds.

Essary, 57, was released on $20,000 bail. Sarah Smith, a spokeswoman for state Auditor Stacey Pickering, said Essary did not have an attorney to comment on his behalf.

Pickering’s office also issued a civil demand for Essary to repay $44,168. The office said Essary falsely billed $33,000 to a U.S. Department of Agriculture watershed project between January 2012 and July 2014. The auditor also demanded nearly $8,000 in interest and $3,000 for investigation costs.

Agents from the auditor’s office searched Essary’s business Thursday morning looking for records related to the indictments.

Pickering accuses Essary of inflating costs in some cases, and submitting invoices for work never done in others. Smith said Essary was giving the false invoices to former County Supervisor Jimmy “Dal” Nelms and purchasing clerk Paul Rhodes. Nelms, Rhodes and three vendors were indicted earlier and have pleaded not guilty.

Nelms is being held without bond after he was arrested again, this time on charges that he stole cash from an auto parts store. He faces a 156-count indictment on charges of forgery and embezzlement of public money. Nelms resigned from the board of supervisors and withdrew his candidacy for re-election after the second arrest.

The investigation also led to indictments against outgoing Alcorn County Sheriff Charles Reinhart and two used-car dealers, claiming the three conspired to fake bids to steer business to the car dealers. Reinhart remains in office.

Pickering and District Attorney John Weddle said the investigation continues.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide