November 21, 2012 10:47:52 AM
The business manager for the office of vice president and provost of Mississippi State University has been arrested for embezzlement.
Beth Sykes Collum, 49, is accused of embezzling from the Mississippi Horsepark Association.
Collum has been the treasurer of the association since November 2008.
She was arrested on Friday by the Oktibbeha County Sheriff's Department and released on a $10,000 bond.
The investigation is ongoing and while the amount allegedly stolen from the organization is unclear, it is considered a significant amount by OCSD investigators.
In addition to her role as state treasurer with the Horsepark Association, Collum is also responsible for handling university funds.
Collum has been the business manger for the office of the vice president and provost since September 2010. She has been an employee with MSU since 2006.
MSU's website describes Collum's responsibilities as "reconciliation of all office accounts including providing monthly reports to the Director for Academic Fiscal Affairs and other senior administrators. She also serves as an approver of all Banner financial documents; works closely with the Director for Academic Fiscal Affairs in the preparation of budget transfers for funding requests."
The website also says Collum assists the director for academic fiscal affairs with the division's annual budgeting process and assists with Maymester and summer school payroll processes.
When asked if an internal audit would be conducted in Collum's department, MSU spokesperson Sid Salter declined comment, citing legal reasons.
Salter also declined to say if Collum was still employed with the university, again citing legal reasons.
However, Salter confirmed MSU is looking into the matter.
"The university always strives to make sure we are compliant with the university's policies and procedures," he said. "This matter will be reviewed to meet those same standards. All aspects of this matter remain under investigation by the administration."
In addition to her roles with the horsepark and MSU, Collum, a native of Eupora, is a registered notary public.
Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.
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