Embezzlement charges brought by state auditor dropped against Mississippi city clerk, deputy clerk
Published 6:45 am Tuesday, February 14, 2023
Criminal embezzlement charges have been dropped against the former Natchez city clerk and her deputy clerk.
Former City Clerk Servia Fortenberry, 52, and Deputy Clerk Sevetrius Dillon, 33, were arrested on Aug. 1, 2022, and charged with two counts of embezzlement each.
The amounts alleged against each were $12,258.29 and $6,634.80. Dillon Fortenberry Sixth District District Attorney Shameca Collins said a deal was worked out in which the bonding company paid back money allegedly taken from the city.
“The money was returned. The bonding company paid back the full amount of the money owed to the city,” Collins said. “As far as criminal charges are concerned, they have been dropped. However, the bonding company could go after them to get that money back if they want to.”
Fortenberry and Dillon resigned from their positions in October 2021. Before they left office, the two paid themselves money Fortenberry said they were owed for salary, vacation time, and compensation time.
Both were indicted for embezzlement after an investigation by Mississippi State Auditor Shad White’s office.
“Both Fortenberry and Dillon are accused of wiring payments to themselves from a city account without approval,” White said in a press release issued Aug. 1, 2022. “The pair are also accused of claiming to work for the City of Natchez at the same time they were working as consultants for a town on the opposite side of the state.”
The Mississippi State Auditor’s media relations office did not immediately respond to a request for comment this morning as to why charges were dropped.
Contacted this morning, Fortenberry said she would only have a statement once all of the paperwork is signed on the order to drop the charges, but that she will have a statement after that happens.