U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst issued the following statement today regarding the State’s  investigation and the local arrests relating to fraud at the Mississippi Department of Human Services.

Hurst said:

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office has received numerous inquiries regarding the State Auditor’s investigation into the Mississippi Department of Human Services and local indictments returned by a Hinds County grand jury in that case.

“While we commend the reported actions, neither the FBI nor the United States Attorney’s Office was contacted by the State Auditor or the Hinds County District Attorney about this investigation, although millions of federal dollars are alleged to have been stolen.

“After hearing about the investigation, I reached out to the State Auditor and met with him last week to inquire into this matter. I subsequently spoke with the District Attorney about this matter as well.  While information about this investigation was made available to us on Tuesday, we in the United States Attorney’s Office and the FBI only learned on Wednesday afternoon from media reports about the indictment and arrests, at the same time as the general public did.

“Investigating and prosecuting cases of this magnitude and complexity is routinely what the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Offices do here in Mississippi and around the country. In the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi we have a long, successful record of working with our local and state law enforcement, prosecuting public corruption and complex white collar fraud, and bringing all who violate the law to justice.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI continue to have good working relationships with the new State Auditor, the new Hinds County District Attorney, and their offices.  We stand ready to put the substantial experience and expertise of our offices and the entire U.S. Department of Justice to work to help our colleagues bring fraudsters to justice and stamp out public corruption.”

State Auditor Shad White announced the arrests of the former Director of DHS and co-conspirators in the largest public embezzlement case in Mississippi history on Wednesday.