Wilkinson court clerk arrested

Published 12:11 am Friday, February 18, 2011

NATCHEZ — A Wilkinson County Justice Court clerk was arrested on charges of extortion Thursday and booked in the Adams County jail.

The state auditor’s office arrested Wanda Faye Fountain, 53, 7 Peach St., Woodville, for allegedly taking money in exchange for the improper disposal of traffic citations, a press release reads.

The funds Fountain collected were allegedly not reported to the Wilkinson County Justice Court, and the tickets were not forwarded to the Department of Public Safety to update driving records.

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State auditor’s spokesperson Lisa H. Shoemaker said Fountain was booked in Adams County to avoid a conflict of interest since the Wilkinson County jail was next to her office at justice court.

Investigators from the state auditor’s office did a cash count and acquired more evidence at the justice court office after the arrest, according to the press release.

“We’re beginning a new investigation as result of (documents) we were able to recover,” Shoemaker said.

She said the investigation is ongoing and will possibly involve additional charges of embezzlement.

The office in Wilkinson County will remain closed until further notice, Shoemaker said.

“This covert operation in Wilkinson County is one of several undercover operations being conducted by the state auditor’s office across Mississippi where we have received allegations of public employees taking bribes to fix traffic citations,” State Auditor Stacy Pickering said.

Fountain was released on $5,000 bail.