Former Mississippi city clerk headed to prison, forced to repay $216,000 he stole from public

Published 9:25 am Tuesday, January 21, 2020

A man hired as the City Clerk for the Town of Coldwater was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison on Wednesday for Wire Fraud. U.S. District Judge Debra M. Brown sentenced George Nangah to serve the 21-month prison term consecutive to any state court term of imprisonment imposed in the Tate County Circuit Court and to pay $216,401.28 in restitution to the Town of Coldwater.

Nangah was hired to be the Town of Coldwater, Mississippi City Clerk, and over the course of three years, from 2014 to 2017, Nangah utilized an unauthorized Town of Coldwater debit card to purchase gift cards for airline tickets, hotels, and retail stores, none of which were used for the benefit of the Town of Coldwater. Nangah also used a charge account in the Town of Coldwater’s name at Best Buy, where Nangah purchased electronic equipment and gift cards not used or meant for use by the Town of Coldwater. Nangah made unauthorized payments to himself as well as one other person on the Town of Coldwater’s Clearing and General Fund bank accounts. Overall, $216,401.28 of loss was attributed to Nangah.

U.S. Attorney William C. Lamar noted that this prosecution was important for citizens throughout the State of Mississippi.

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“The citizens of Mississippi put a great deal of trust in our government employees and elected officials to utilize resources in a way that benefits the State and its residents. When city officials like Mr. Nangah take those resources and use them for their own personal gain, it is a betrayal of our State and every resident that they pledged to serve when they accepted their positions. Our office will continue to work alongside our federal, state and local partners to hold accountable those individuals who betray the public trust, steal our resources and embarrass our State” Lamar said.

This case was investigated by both the State of Mississippi Office of the State Auditor and the FBI. Following the sentencing, State Auditor Shad White also expressed the commitment of his office to holding accountable those individuals who betray the citizens that they were hired to serve.

“It’s good to see Mr. Nangah sentenced in this case that started as a joint investigation between the Auditor’s office and federal agencies. Mr. Nangah embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from a small Mississippi town and engaged in multiple fraudulent schemes that hurt taxpayers who could not afford to see their money wasted.”

FBI Jackson Division Special Agent in Charge Michelle A. Sutphin also noted the importance of this prosecution. “Government officials are held to a higher standard and are expected to be good stewards of taxpayer money. When criminals use their position to line their own pockets, it erodes the public’s trust in government. Investigating public corruption in Mississippi continues to be a top priority for the FBI,” commented Sutphin.