Former Coahoma Community College employees accused of stealing nearly $1M

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COAHOMA COUNTY, Miss. — Two women are being accused of running an embezzlement scheme and stealing nearly $1 million from a community college in Mississippi.

Some investigators say it took a tip to stop two women from stealing from Coahoma Community College.

On Monday, state auditor Shad White handed over findings from a year’s worth of investigating embezzlement allegations.

“It’s heartbreaking,” he said. “It makes you angry on some levels and it makes you want to hold them accountable.”

White says Gwendolyn Jefferson and Stacie Neal must return more than $980,000.

“You think of all of the Mississippians who don’t get to spend nearly $1 million tax free on top of their salary they are being paid.”

The investigation found that while the two worked in payments at the school, they worked together to put more money in their own pockets.

The state auditor says the scheme went on from 2013 until last year when someone slipped up. According to the college, the two women no longer work there.

“That’s the problem with a conspiracy, you have people working together to cover each other’s tracks and doctoring books. That makes it hard to catch. You are waiting on them to make a mistake.”

White says the red flags are always clues that something isn’t right.

“These are red flags and a lot of the red flags are people who make this sorta salary, but live a much higher lifestyle.”

He says the con might have kept on if no one would have said anything

“If you are running an institution  you need to create a culture where everyone feels comfortable stepping up and identifying fraud and embezzlement if they see it.”

White says if you have an office where one person handles all purchasing functions, that’s not smart. He says you want to separate all duties out where multiple people are looking at them and approving them.

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