Today Auditor Shad White announced Special Agents from his office have arrested former City of Philadelphia Court Clerk Karen Refre for embezzlement. A demand letter worth $25,746.59 was issued to Refre at the time of her surrender.
Refre allegedly embezzled funds from the Philadelphia Municipal Court by taking cash collected by her office. She purportedly manipulated accounting software records by altering cash and check receipts to hide the embezzlement. Investigators determined Refre’s scheme lasted at least two years. When city officials noticed financial inconsistencies, they contacted the Auditor’s office.
Refre surrendered to Special Agents at the Neshoba County Law Enforcement Center. Her bail was set at $25,000 and was not immediately posted.
Refre will face up to 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines if convicted. All persons arrested by the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Refre’s prosecution will be handled by the office of District Attorney for the 8th District Stephen S. Kilgore.
A $50,000 surety bond covered the employment of the suspect. A surety bond is similar to insurance designed to protect taxpayers from embezzlement and corruption. Refre remains fully liable for the money missing from their respective communities in addition to criminal proceedings.
“These cases show how private CPA firms and observant city officials can work together with investigators in the state auditor’s office to make sure taxpayer money isn’t stolen,” said Auditor White. “Ms. Refre used her position to benefit herself, and taxpayers deserve better. I look forward to seeing justice done.”
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.