August 3, 2020

Two men charged with stealing public money while working for state of Mississippi

Two former state of Mississippi workers have been indicted on charges they took public money.

A pair of Bolivar County men were arrested for embezzlement in two separate cases, Attorney General Jim Hood’s office reported Tuesday.

Joseph Woods Edney, Jr., 37, turned himself in to authorities Tuesday following his indictment by a Bolivar County grand jury on one count of embezzlement. Edney is accused of converting money orders to his own use between August 2013 and March 2018 while employed by the State of Mississippi. The money orders were the property of the State of Mississippi.

If convicted, Edney faces up to 20 years in prison. This case was investigated by the State Auditor’s Office and will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Lakeita F. Rox-Love of the AG’s Public Integrity Division.

In a separate, unrelated case, Gared Watkins, 48, turned himself in to authorities Tuesday following his indictment by a Bolivar County grand jury on one count of embezzlement. Watkins is accused of using three school buses for his own personal use on August 1, 2018, while employed as a Mississippi Public Employee and as the Federal Programs Director for the North Bolivar Consolidated School District. The school buses are property of the Bolivar County Schools, State of Mississippi and North Bolivar Consolidated School District.

If convicted, Watkins faces up to 20 years in prison. This case was investigated by John Wayne Smith and will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Brad Oberhousen, both with the AG’s Public Integrity Division.