Justice Court Clerk Arrested for Extortion,

State Auditor Takes Control of Wilkinson County Justice Clerk’s Office

(Jackson, Miss.) – State Auditor Stacey Pickering took control of the
Wilkinson County Justice Court Clerk’s Office today following an
investigation that led to the arrest of Justice Court Clerk Wanda Faye
Fountain for extortion. Fountain, 53, of Woodville, is charged with
extortion for collecting unauthorized fees, Mississippi Code 97-11-33. The
State Auditor officially closed the Justice Court Clerk’s Office in
Wilkinson County in order for auditors and special agents to determine the
cash on hand.

“Clerk Wanda Faye Fountain was arrested earlier today at her home and
charged with one count of extortion,” said State Auditor Stacey Pickering.
“This covert operation in Wilkinson County is one of several undercover
operations being conducted by the State Auditor’s Office across Mississippi
where we have received allegations of public employees taking bribes to fix
traffic citations. Our special agents do an excellent job on behalf of the
taxpayers of Mississippi to ensure that public employees and elected
officials are held to the highest level of accountability.”

The State Auditor’s Office alleges that Fountain collected money in exchange
for the improper disposal of traffic citations and that these funds were not
properly deposited into the Justice Court of Wilkinson County, and the
tickets were not forwarded to the Department of Public Safety for entry on
driving history records.

Fountain was booked at the Adams Country Sheriff’s Office on February 17.
Her bond was set at $5000.

“This arrest is just the first step of what is an ongoing investigation into
possible embezzlement of public funds from the Wilkinson Court Justice
Court,” said Pickering.

Elected as Mississippi’s State Auditor in 2007, Stacey Pickering has
recovered more than $3.9 million in embezzled, misspent or misappropriated
funds. He is a seventh generation Mississippian from Jones County. Auditor
Pickering currently serves on the Domestic Working Group for the Office of
the Comptroller General of the United States. He also serves on the
Financial Management and Intergovernmental Affairs and Performance Audit
Committees for the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and
Treasurers and is a member of the National State Auditors Association. Prior
to serving as State Auditor, Pickering served as a State Senator from
2004-2007 representing Jones County and is credited for co-authorizing
legislation allowing Mississippi to end lawsuit abuse. Throughout his
political career, Pickering has made tremendous strides in creating more
accountability and transparency in government and continues to promote
fiscal responsibility and the need for more efficiency and productivity in
government. For more information on Stacey Pickering, visit

www.osa.state.ms.us/auditors-bio.htm.

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Photos of today’s arrest, can be found by visiting
http://www2.osa.ms.gov/forum/showthread.php?t=584.

Pickering Press