Trips in a county-issued vehicle and the use of a county-owned cell phone for personal business purposes has prompted charges of embezzlement against a county official.
State Auditor Shad White said agents from his office have arrested Jones County District 5 Supervisor Travares Comegys after he was indicted for embezzlement by a local grand jury.
A $5,719.24 demand letter was presented to Comegys upon his arrest. The demand amount includes interest and investigative expenses
Comegys is accused of using a county-issued vehicle and cell phone to operate a beauty supply business for his own personal benefit from July 2020 to April 2021.
In addition to traveling to multiple salons and barbershops outside Jones County, Comegys allegedly used his Jones County-owned vehicle on a trip to the New Orleans airport.
Comegys also purportedly used his county-owned cell phone almost exclusively to operate his personal business.
“Using taxpayer re-sources or property for your personal benefit is not allowed,” said Auditor White. “This message should be clear to every elected official in the state by now. The credit for this case, as always, goes to the hard-working men and women of the Office of the State Auditor.”
Comegys was arrested by Special Agents and transported to the Jones County Sheriff’s office this morning.
Bail will be set this week by the court.
If convicted on all counts, Comegys faces up to 10 years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
All persons arrested by the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
As with all investigations by the State Auditor’s office, the case will be prosecuted by either the State Attorney General or the local district attorney.
This case will be prosecuted by the office of District Attorney Anthony Buckley.
A $100,000 surety bond covers Comegys’s time as a member of the Jones County Board of Supervisors. Surety bonds are similar to insurance designed to protect taxpayers from corruption.
Comegys will remain liable for the full amount of the demand in addition to criminal proceedings.
The State Audit Department said most cases of fraud are brought to their attention by concerned taxpayers and government employees who are concerned about mis-use of public funds.
Suspected fraud can be reported to the Auditor’s office online any time by clicking the red button at www.osa.ms.-gov or via telephone during normal business hours at 1-(800)-321-1275.