Mississippi tax collector indicted on embezzlement charges

Published 7:24 am Tuesday, December 22, 2020

A county tax collector in north Mississippi was arrested Monday after officials said he stole thousands of dollars in public money.

Alcorn County’s Larry Ross was indicted by a grand jury on two counts of embezzlement and one count of making a fraudulent statement, State Auditor Shad White said in a news release.

Ross is accused of embezzling $2,690 from Alcorn County from March 2012 through March 2020, the auditor said. Ross is also allegedly responsible for close to $50,000 in losses to the county through waiving late penalties for licensing and registering motor vehicles.

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The tax collector’s office is supposed to ensure that property taxes are collected, and it has various other responsibilities, including selling vehicle license tags.

Ross is accused of stealing from the county by recycling unused vehicle license tags and taking cash from fees collected by the office. Investigators also found evidence that Ross created and signed fraudulent bills of sale, according to the auditor.

Ross is being ordered to pay $69,155, the auditor’s office said. The includes interest and investigative expenses.

He surrendered to agents at the Alcorn County Jail on Monday. His bond was set at $10,000 by the court.

Officials in the auditor’s office and the sheriff’s office said they did not know whether Ross is represented by an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

If convicted, Ross faces up to 45 years in prison and an additional $20,000 in fines.

A $100,000 surety bond covers Ross’ time as tax collector. A surety bond is similar to insurance and is designed to protect taxpayers from improper actions by an official.