Former Sardis City Clerk Sentenced for Embezzlement

Former Sardis City Clerk Sentenced for Embezzlement State Auditor Stacey Pickering announced that Odessa Johnson, former city clerk for Sardis, has been sentenced to serve 2 and a half years in the custody of the Department of Corrections followed by 5 years of post- release supervision. In addition, Johnson was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $30,720.03. The restitution amount includes principal and interest.  Johnson was employed with the City of Sardis from September 2001 through June 4, 2009.
 
“I am pleased with the sentence handed down to Odessa Johnson by the Circuit Court,” said State Auditor Stacey Pickering. “This case should serve as a reminder to public employees that my office will investigate and assist in the prosecution of any individual who betrays the public trust.”
 
Special agents with the State Auditor’s Office determined the embezzlement occurred by taking funds from water collections, court collections, property tax collections, payments for the marina lease, payments for dispatch services and by using the City of Sardis’ credit card for personal use. On February 4, 2010, Johnson was indicted and arrested for embezzlement.  
 
Elected as Mississippi’s 41st State Auditor in 2007, Stacey Pickering was re-elected as State Auditor in 2011 receiving over 75 percent of the vote in the November General Election. Since 2008, Pickering has recovered more than $8 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. 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
<http://www.osa.state.ms.us/auditors-bio.htm> .