Former county employee indicted for embezzlement

Two Meridian men who formerly worked for county barns in Lauderdale County have been arrested for embezzlement in connection with the misuse of Fuelman cards.

State Auditor Stacey Pickering announced the arrests of Kenneth Lanier, 41, and Christopher Williams, 22, following the two men recently being indicted by a Lauderdale County grand jury.

Lanier allegedly facilitated a conspiracy to embezzle funds from Lauderdale County through the unauthorized obtainment and use of county Fuelman cards. Total loss was $21,272.86 representing $15,241.67 in embezzled funds; $609.67 in interest; and $5,421.52 in investigative expenses. Lanier was employed by the Lauderdale County Road Department from July 20, 2006 through Oct. 25, 2006.

Lauderdale County Administrator Mike Sumrall said Tuesday afternoon the fuel cards are issued to drivers who operate county vehicles. A fuel card is issued to a specific vehicle and the driver is given a pin number in which to access the card to fuel up.

“These incidents reportedly occurred about two years ago,” said Sumrall. “We’ve been cooperating with investigators with the State Auditor’s Office on this matter.

The complaint was initially filed with the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department. “We appreciate the assistance of the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department in the initial investigation efforts and in serving the indictments,” said State Auditor Stacey Pickering. “This was a great joint effort between the State Auditor’s Office and Lauderdale County.”

Meridian Star