State Auditor Stacey Pickering announced earlier this morning that Itawamba County Chancery Clerk Jim Witt has been ordered to pay $503,246.43.
Pickering said Witt, who has been clerk since 1992, did not steal or embezzle the money; rather, Witt was accused of “bad bookkeeping.”
“This is money lost from individuals who purchased property through tax sales, and that money was not put back when the land was redeemed by the original owners, or the money was not settled back to Itawamba County or the state,” Pickering said.
“Some private money was used throughout the process to float checks to balance the account, but it was just the result of some very, very bad bookkeeping.”
The auditor’s office looked at records from August 2007 to December 2012 and found the discrepancies after a routine audit. They had investigated the case for more than a year.