October 4, 2021

Former Yalobusha County sheriff, medical employee indicted in separate embezzlement cases

Therese Apel

Former Sheriff Lance Humphreys, left, and Katherine Rotenberry Brown. Both were indicted in separate embezzlement cases in Yalobusha County by the State Auditor's Office.

A former sheriff and a hospital employee, both from Yalobusha County, were arrested on indictments from the State Auditor’s office Monday, according to a release.

Today State Auditor Shad White announced Special Agents from his office have arrested former Yalobusha County Sheriff William “Lance” Humphreys and former Yalobusha General Hospital employee Katherine Rotenberry Brown after both were indicted for separate crimes. Special Agents delivered a $10,867.30 demand letter to Humphreys and a $100,966.03 demand letter to Brown. Both amounts include interest and investigative expenses.

Humphreys was indicted for embezzlement after allegedly stealing nearly $5,000 from the county’s “Inmate Canteen Account” – funds meant to provide educational and recreational resources to county inmates. The former sheriff is accused of transferring money from the canteen account directly to his own personal bank account. The purported transfers were made in 2018 and reported by a Yalobusha Sheriff’s Office employee who was gathering documents to be audited.

“This is, unfortunately, another case where funds intended to benefit prisoners were stolen,” said White. “It’s the second arrest we’ve made like this in the last month. We will continue to enforce the law to protect taxpayers and other victims.”

A grand jury also indicted Katherine Brown for embezzlement. She is alleged to have embezzled over $70,000 from Yalobusha General Hospital by issuing and cashing checks addressed to multiple hospital employees. Hospital employees filed a complaint at the Auditor’s office after accounting discrepancies were identified.

“Thank you to the agents who uncovered this fraud from a rural hospital,” White said. “We are dedicated to putting a stop to schemes like this and making sure public money reaches those who should benefit—in this case, patients and hospital employees.”

Humphreys surrendered himself to Special Agents at the Yalobusha County Sheriff’s office, and Brown was arrested at her home in Oxford and transported to the Yalobusha County Detention Center. Bail for both individuals will be set by the court.

Humphreys will face up to 20 years in prison or $5,000 in fines, and Brown faces up to 20 years in prison and $25,000 in fines. All persons arrested by the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Both cases will be prosecuted by District Attorney John Champion’s office.

A $100,000 surety bond covers the time Humphreys was Yalobusha County Sheriff. No surety bond covers Brown’s employment at Yalobusha General Hospital. Surety bonds are similar to insurance designed to protect taxpayers in the event that public money is misspent.

Both Humphreys and Brown will remain liable for the full amounts of their respective demands in addition to individual criminal charges.
Suspected fraud can be reported to the Auditor’s office online any time by clicking the red “Report Fraud” button at the Auditor’s website or via telephone during normal business hours by calling 1-(800)-321-1275.

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