Mississippi man charged with illegally using county personnel, equipment to cleanup private property, auditor says

Published 9:53 am Thursday, September 16, 2021

Mississippi State Auditor’s office agents arrested a Mississippi man they say illegally used county-owned equipment and county employees to clean up a piece of private property.

State Auditor Shad White said agents arrested Larry Barnes this week and presented a $4,788.89 demand letter to Roland Graham in Jones County. The demand amount includes investigative costs and interest.

Larry Barnes, a contractor, allegedly used county personnel and equipment to remove debris from a demolished building located on private property. The county personnel and equipment were under the supervision of former Jones County Beat 5 Road Foreman Roland Graham.

“Personal use of public property is not allowed,” said White. “Everyone knows this. The days where this kind of thing will happen are over.”

Barnes was arrested by Special Agents and transported to the Jones County Sheriff’s office. Bail will be set by the court.

If convicted, Barnes faces up to 5 years in prison and $1,000 in fines. All persons arrested by the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. District Attorney Anthony Buckley’s office will prosecute the case.

Graham’s employment as a road foreman is covered by an insurance policy. If no payment is made on the demand within 30 days, the Attorney General’s office is required to file a civil suit against Graham to recover the taxpayer money.

Suspected fraud can be reported to the Auditor’s office online any time by clicking the red button at www.osa.ms.gov or via telephone during normal business hours at 1-(800)-321-1275.