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Former community college employee arrested for embezzlement

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(photo courtesy of Mississippi Office of the State Auditor)

Today State Auditor Shad White announced Special Agents from his office have arrested former Northeast Mississippi Community College employee, Amy Haynie, after she was indicted for embezzlement. Hanie was issued a $68,762.87 demand letter upon her arrest. That demand total includes interest and investigative expenses.

Amy Haynie (photo courtesy of Mississippi Office of the State Auditor)

Haynie is accused of embezzling cash from a college petty cash fund and from students as they paid various college-related fees. Investigators determined over $57,000 was stolen from the college. Haynie was able to hide the alleged scheme from May 2016 to February 2020 because the internal controls in her office allowed her to manipulate records of how cash was collected and deposited.

“The auditor’s office is committed to putting a stop to all fraud, but particularly fraud that involves theft from the students of Mississippi,” said Auditor White. “These are not victimless crimes. We will continue to pursue cases like these to make sure every dollar is spent in accordance with the law.”

Haynie surrendered to Special Agents at the Prentiss County Jail. Her bond was set at $10,000 by the court.

If convicted, Haynie faces up to 20 years in prison and $5,000 in fines. All persons arrested by the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The case will be prosecuted by the office of District Attorney John Weddle.

A $10,000 surety bond covers Haynie’s employment at Northeast Mississippi Community College. A surety bond is similar to insurance designed to protect taxpayers from corruption. Haynie will remain liable for the full amount of the demand in addition to criminal proceedings.

Suspected fraud can be reported to the Auditor’s office online any time by clicking the red button at www.osa.ms.gov or via telephone during normal business hours at 1-(800)-321-1275.

Crime

Mississippi football player accused of statutory rape

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La’Monte Kelly (photo courtesy Jefferson County Sheriff's Department)

La’Monte Kelly, 21, a Southwest Mississippi Community College football player, has been arrested after being accused of having sexual relations with an 11-year-old girl.

McComb, Mississippi, law enforcement arrested Kelly Wednesday after the parents of the child made the complaint, charging him with statutory rape. He is being held on a $75,000 bond.

Kelly also has a hold placed on him from Jefferson County where he faces a charge of solicitation of child pornography.

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Crime

Columbus woman arrested for possessing meth

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Amanda O'Callaghan (photo courtesy VPD)

Vicksburg police officers arrested a Columbus, Mississippi, woman Thursday in connection with an incident from September.

Amanda O’Callaghan, 49, was arrested Dec. 3 and charged with one count of possession of methamphetamine.

On Sept. 4, Vicksburg police officers responded to a call about a suspicious person in the Ameristar Casino parking lot. Officers found what they suspected to be a controlled substance in O’Callaghan’s possession and sent the substance to the Mississippi Crime Lab for testing. The arrest occurred after police received the results and issued a warrant for her arrest.

O’Callaghan appeared in Vicksburg Municipal Court before Judge Angela Carpenter Wednesday. Carpenter set her bond at $5,000 and bound her over to the Warren County grand jury.

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Crime

Tallulah man among three arrested in Louisiana for internet crimes against children

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Sean Ramey (photo courtesy LBI)

Since the COVID-19 public health emergency was declared, the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation’s Cyber Crimes Unit has seen a 200% increase in online sexual predator cases. Despite this surge and a need for more resources to help with these investigations, the CCU has gone above and beyond to bring child predators to justice. Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Landry announced three of their recent arrests.

“Policies have consequences, and one consequence of the governor’s shutdowns and mandates is an increase of online activity – including internet crimes against children. Maintaining the status quo when it comes to protecting our children during these perilous times is dangerous and jeopardizes the safety of our communities,” Landry said in a press release. “While understaffed and overworked, my team and our law enforcement partners continue working tirelessly to find and apprehend criminals who produce, possess, or distribute sexual abuse images and videos of children.”

Sean Ramey, 57, was arrested in Tallulah on three counts of pornography involving juveniles under the age of 13 (possession). This arrest was a result of a joint investigation with the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation, Louisiana State Probation & Parole, Madison Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Tallulah Police Department. Ramey was booked into the Madison Parish Jail.

Jesse Barker, 32 of Arabi, was arrested on two counts of pornography involving juveniles under the age of 13 (distribution). This arrest was a result of a joint investigation with the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation and St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office. Barker was booked into the St. Bernard Parish Jail.

Joseph Payne, 29 of Marrero, was arrested on two counts of pornography involving juveniles under the age of 13 (possession). This arrest was a result of a joint investigation with the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation and Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. Payne booked into Jefferson Parish Correctional Center.

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