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Former town clerk pleads guilty to theft of nearly $250,000

August 23, 2019

PONTOTOC, Miss. (AP) — A former Mississippi town clerk accused of stealing nearly $250,000 pleaded guilty Friday and was sentenced to five years of house arrest.

Gretchin Moody, 47, former clerk of the City of Ecru, had been indicted on three counts of embezzlement for stealing $128,000 in town court fines and $69,000 in payroll, plus using town credit cards to make $46,000 in personal purchases.

Authorities say she used some money to buy more than 75 guns and give them to former Ecru Police Chief Paul Blaylock. Blaylock surrendered the guns to the town, which is selling them to recoup tens of thousands of dollars in unearned overtime that auditors said Blaylock fraudulently claimed from state and town money.

Pontotoc County Circuit Court Judge Kelly Mims sentenced Moody to house arrest, plus five years of post-release supervision. She was ordered to pay $183,000 in restitution within five years, and made an initial $75,000 payment Friday.

Blaylock previously pleaded guilty to one count of fraud and was sentenced to two years of house arrest, said Logan Reeves, a spokesman for state Auditor Shad White.

The case began with a complaint about discrepancies in payroll, the auditor’s office said previously. The town fired Moody in May 2016. Blaylock was fired in September 2016. The auditor’s office has said Moody and Blaylock knew of each other’s actions and that Moody aided Blaylock at times.

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