Ex-bookkeeper charged with stealing $69K from Mississippi fire department

Published 1:38 pm Monday, April 15, 2019

A former bookkeeper of a south Mississippi fire department is charged with stealing $69,000 from the agency just months after her predecessor was named on similar charges.

Jessica Delancey was indicted and arrested Friday on one count of embezzlement from the Oloh Fire Protection District in Lamar County. She’s free on $10,000 bail.

It’s unclear if Delancey has a lawyer.

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State Auditor Shad White has demanded that Delancey pay $100,000 to cover the missing money, plus interest and investigation costs. Delancy was covered by a $50,000 surety bond, meaning the insurer could repay lost money.

Delancey started working for the Oloh fire department in 2012, White said.

After Lamar County supervisors reported discrepancies, investigators for the auditor’s office determined Delancey wrote checks to herself for $68,719.59 more than she was supposed to be paid. Delancey stole the money between February 2013 and July 2018, White said, citing it as another example of how people can easily steal from small government agencies when only one person controls the money.

Delancey faces up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

In October, Delancey’s predecessor, former Oloh fire treasurer Michelle Barefoot, was indicted for embezzling $23,000 from November 2010 to February 2012.

Officials said she made payments to her personal credit card using a fire department bank account. White demanded nearly $41,000 in repayment. The status of Barefoot’s case was unclear Monday. White didn’t indicate any connection between the thefts.