Former CFO for Mississippi city arrestd on embezzlement charges
A former CFO of a Missisisppi city was arrested on embezzlement charges on Monday, according to a press release from State Auditor Shad white on Tuesday August 18th.
Milton Rawle, the former CFO, was arrested on the Gulf Coast and transferred to the Lowndes County detention center.
Rawle was served a demand letter for $354,000 and faces up to 20 years in prison.
“He deserves to have a felony on his record,” White said.
Rawle submitted his resignation to the city council of Columbus in February of 2019 after the city said that they overspent nearly $880,000 in 2018.
According to White, Rawle was transferring city money to bank accounts controlled by him and taking that money for personal use.
From White’s Office:
Today State Auditor Shad White announced Special Agents from his office have arrested former City of Columbus Chief Financial Officer Milton Rawle, Jr. after he was indicted for embezzlement by a grand jury in the district of District Attorney Scott Colom. Upon his arrest, Rawle was issued a demand showing he owes $354,896.27 to taxpayers in Columbus. This amount includes interest and investigative expenses.
Rawle is accused of embezzling nearly $290,000 by making electronic money transfers to personal bank accounts from December 2016 to December 2018. To hide the unauthorized transactions, Rawle purportedly used official-sounding labels like “payroll” and “reimbursement.” Investigators also believe he used clipart to alter city bank statements to conceal the transfers. The case was investigated after accounting discrepancies were found and reported by a private CPA hired by the City of Columbus to complete a routine, annual audit.
“Mr. Rawle stole a great deal from the taxpayers of Columbus,” said Auditor White. “I’m thankful for the hard work of the auditor’s office investigators for building this case against him. Now it’s time for prosecutors to send him to prison and get the money back.”
Rawle was arrested by Special Agents yesterday in Jackson County. He was transported to the Lowndes County Jail where bond will be set by the court.
If convicted, Rawle faces up to 20 years in prison and $25,000 in fines. All persons arrested by the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The case will be prosecuted by the office of District Attorney Colom.
“Prosecutors should not go lightly here just because Mr. Rawle is a non-violent offender,” White said. “Mr. Rawle stole much more than many burglars could ever get away with. We shouldn’t treat him differently just because he wore a tie and stole with a pen.”
A $100,000 surety bond covers Rawle’s time as an employee of Columbus. A surety bond is similar to insurance designed to protect taxpayers from corruption. Rawle will remain liable for the full amount of the demand in addition to criminal proceedings.
Suspected fraud can be reported to the Auditor’s office online any time by clicking the red button at the Auditor’s website or via telephone during normal business hours at 1-(800)-321-1275.