Randy James, 56, the former City Clerk of Bay Springs in Jasper County, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Taylor McNeel for the federal crimes of money laundering and making false statements on a federal tax return, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca, Special Agent in Charge James E. Dorsey of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Atlanta Field Office, and Mississippi State Auditor Shad White.
James pled guilty to the charges on October 7, 2020, before Senior U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett.
James was sentenced to serve a total of 50 months in federal prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $265,561.84 to the Office of the Mississippi State Auditor on behalf of the City of Bay Springs, as well as $95,000 in restitution to the IRS and $60,000 in restitution to RLI Surety, which was the bonding surety company for the City of Bay Springs. James was also ordered to pay $30,200 in fines and special assessments.
During 2017 and 2018, Randy James was employed by the City of Bay Springs, Mississippi, as City Clerk, and had control over certain financial aspects of the city. During this time, James embezzled just over $300,000 from Bay Springs between August 2017 and April 2018 by creating fraudulent invoices from fictitious companies for the costs of false services that were never approved or incurred by the city.
James diverted city funds by obtaining checks from the City of Bay Springs, cashing the checks at a local bank, and wiring those funds overseas to international scammers in the hope of winning money in a lottery scheme. James also made false statements on his personal 2018 Federal Income Tax Return by under-reporting gross receipts by $193,331.00.
The State Auditor’s Office previously issued a demand letter to James for $325,562 which included the amount of his embezzlement, plus interest and investigative costs. In his publicly filed plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, James agreed to pay a total of $420,562 in restitution.
Acting U.S. Attorney LaMarca commended the federal, state and local law enforcement cooperation displayed in this case. The case was investigated by the Mississippi State Auditor’s Office and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stan Harris.
Release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Mississippi.