BILOXI — Three former employees of the state Department of Marine Resources pleaded guilty to felonies Wednesday, admitting they were falsely reimbursed for travel expenses, but none will serve prison time.
While employed at DMR, two of the defendants said, their supervisor, Tina Shumate, tried to tell them what they should say to investigators then working to uncover crimes in the agency, and she asked them to manufacture receipts.
Shumate, also charged in the case, denies any wrongdoing. Her trial is set for October, but she has requested a change of venue due to pretrial publicity.
Shumate managed the DMR’s Office of Coastal Resource Management and Planning.
Leslie Gollott, a former CRMP projects officer, was sentenced to two years under house arrest, followed by five years’ probation, for embezzling $175 in May 2009 via a travel voucher. She also was ordered to repay $30,305.22 in misappropriated money Wednesday and fined $2,000.
Former geographic system coordinator Grant Larsen and former CRMP coordinator Susan Perkins were each sentenced to two years on probation and ordered to pay fines of $1,000 each. They pleaded guilty to one charge each of felony false pretense for falsifying travel vouchers. By pleading guilty to false pretense rather than embezzlement, they may be able to have their records wiped clean after five years.
Both had to pay restitution Wednesday. Larsen had repaid $821.91 he received in October 2008. Perkins had to return $679.39 from November 2011.