State Auditor Makes Arrests in Bassfield Surplus Property Investigation

State Auditor Makes Arrests in Bassfield Surplus Property Investigation 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.
 
 
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> .