State Auditor Stacey Pickering announced that two individuals turned themselves in to the Rankin County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday following multiple count indictments. These indictments are a result of the investigation into surplus property purchased by the City of Bassfield and converted to personal use. Brenda Saulters and Billy Matthews were booked on the charges false pretenses, embezzlement and conspiracy to commit false pretenses.

Saulters and Matthews will be arraigned on Friday, November 16, 2012 at 9 a.m. at the Rankin County Circuit Court. In October 2012, State Auditor’s Office announced the return of 22 pieces of property and equipment improperly obtained by the City of Bassfield back to the State of Mississippi. An investigation earlier this year determined the items were purchased by the City but were intended and later converted to personal use. Items included multiple boats, travel trailers and heavy equipment. Property is valued at $309,228. The City of Bassfield purchased the property and equipment at government discounts for a total of $52,840.

“Following our investigation, our office turned over our case to the Rankin County District Attorney for prosecution, and I appreciate DA Michael Guest’s efforts in returning these multiple count indictments” said State Auditor Stacey Pickering. “Our agents, along with the staff of Surplus Property and the City of Bassfield, were able to recover 22 items from the individuals who were using them for personal use and return to the State of Mississippi,” said State Auditor Stacey Pickering.

The Surplus Property Program was organized in 1946 and has the authority to acquire surplus goods from both the Federal and the State Government and allow these items to be utilized by local and state government entities. The program saves tax dollars by supplying good property to local and state government entities at a low cost. Items range from office furnishings to heavy equipment, vehicles and aircraft.

State Auditor Stacey Pickering Press Release
11/14/12