Auditor: Former state official arrested for using public funds to buy fuel, barbecue supplies, toys and more

Published 5:12 pm Monday, March 8, 2021

The former director of the Mississippi Veterans Affairs cemetery is accused of spending thousands of dollars in public money to buy everything from fuel and barbecue supplies to toys and luggage.

Henry Gruno, the former MSVA cemetery director in Newton County, was arrested after he was indicted for embezzlement, according to State Auditor Shad White. Gruno was presented with $29,818.76 demand letter upon arrest, which includes interest and investigative expenses.

Gruno is accused of using a credit card and a fuel card to embezzle public money from Mississippi Veterans Affairs.

Investigators identified a total of about $14,000 as embezzled from January 2016 to January 2019.

He allegedly used an MSVA credit card to purchase things like barbecue supplies, toys, and luggage. He also purportedly used a fuel card to make purchases far from the cemetery and on days when grounds equipment was not operated.

If convicted, Gruno faces up to 10 years in prison and $5,000 in fines.