Former Chief Financial Officer of Columbus, Mississippi accused of embezzlement

LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) — One of the largest embezzlement cases in the state of Mississippi is happening in the “Friendly City” of Columbus.

Former Chief Financial Officer, Milton Rawle Jr. is accused of swindling $290,000 in a scheme that reportedly went on for two years.

City leaders had long suspected something was wrong with how the city’s finances were being handled and that’s why they hired a CPA.

The State Auditor got involved and now Rawle is sitting in jail.

“Mr. Rawle had a great deal of control and he was able to leverage that control to steal a good bit of money,” said Mississippi State Auditor Shad White.

Disbelief, White describes his office’s case against Milton Rawle Jr.

White says information from Columbus CPA Wanda Holly helped them identify some of the accounting issues.

” We took that information and what she brought to us. We built out an investigation,we did interviews. We were ultimately able to build all the documents that we needed and all statements to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this public embezzlement happened,” said White.

Between December of 2016 and December 2018, Rawle allegedly stole the money by electronically transferring funds to his personal bank account, using labels like payroll and reimbursement to cover his tracks.

Columbus Mayor Robert Smith released a video statement shortly following Rawle’s arrest.

” Chief Operating Officer Dave Armstrong and I asked the state of Mississippi Auditors Office and the Lowndes County District Attorney to conduct an investigation following the resignation of former chief financial officer Milton Rawle Jr.,” said Mayor Smith. ” The Columbus City Council fully supports his investigation. This is an ongoing criminal case so no further information will be released at this time by the City of Columbus,” said Smith.

White says Rawle has 30 days to pay back $354,896.27.

“We’re hopeful that the bond will be able to pay out on Mr. Rawle but the city at least in part will be able full for some of the money that Mr. Rawle stole. Ideally he’ll be prosecuted by the city and state are able to go back in and get the full amount of money that Mr. Rawle is responsible for,” said White.

If convicted, Rawle faces up to 20 years in prison and $25,000 dollars in fines.

Rawle’s bond is set today at $65,000 dollars.

Categories: Crime, Local News, Mississippi State News, News

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