November 16, 2018 10:56:20 AM
A former employee of Lowndes County Health Department has been indicted for embezzlement.
The State Auditor's Office has charged Phyllis Welch, 55, of 570 Spurline Road, with embezzlement, according to Lowndes County Circuit Court documents and a SAO press release. Welch was issued a demand for $4,102.68, the press release said.
Welch worked as an office manager for the clinic, where she is accused of altering payment records to note bogus deductions from cash payments from patients, according to the press release.
The indictment said the embezzlement occurred in August 2017. Welch worked at the clinic from March 2000 to December 2017, a SAO spokesperson said.
The clinic is run by the Mississippi State Department of Health.
The press release said internal auditors with SAO discovered "questionable accounting practices" and reported to the Auditor's Office for further investigation.
"This is an example of someone taking money that should have been spent on health services for the public, and we cannot afford to have that money stolen," State Auditor Shad White said. "My office has a zero tolerance policy for theft of public funds of any type, but taking money from public health is particularly galling. Those thinking about stealing money from the public coffers should see this case as proof we are watching."
Welch could face up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines, the press release said.
Welch's next court date is scheduled for Feb. 2, 2019. If Welch is convicted, she could face up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
Welch has been released from custody on $5,000 bond.
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