County seeking to recover funds embezzled from its juvenile justice center

Published 12:12 am Thursday, October 23, 2014

NATCHEZ — Adams County is working to recover the approximately $165,000 allegedly embezzled from its juvenile justice center.

Adams County Board of Supervisors Attorney Scott Slover said this week he expects the county will be able to recoup the losses through civil legal processes.

The county has insurance that will likely help recover 100 percent of the loss, Slover said.

Email newsletter signup

Former juvenile justice center administrator Kevin Nations, 48, of Natchez, allegedly took the funds.

While the case was initially heard in Adams County Justice Court, Adams County Justice Court Judge Charlie Vess said he fast tracked the case to the district attorney’s office, which in turn handed the investigation over to the state attorney general’s office.

A spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office said the office’s general policy is to neither confirm or deny an investigation.

District Attorney Ronny Harper said he turned over the investigation — which was being handled by the Adams County Sheriff’s Office — at the request of Sheriff Chuck Mayfield.

In addition to his role at the juvenile justice center, Nations had previously worked as a police officer, court officer and deputy sheriff. Nations had resigned his position at the juvenile justice center approximately three weeks prior to his July 30 booking at the Adams County jail.

Harper said he has not been privy to the investigation, which is being conducted by the public integrity division of the attorney general’s office, and said that office would handle that prosecution and presentation to the grand jury if it moves forward.

“Until a grand jury does something, there won’t be anything more than the one initial charge that was filed,” Harper said.

The funds taken during the alleged embezzlement were for the housing of out-of-county juveniles at the center.

Youth Court Judge John Hudson said at the time checks involved in the alleged embezzlement scheme received at the center were reportedly never taken to the county bookkeeping office for deposit.

After the discovery of missing funds were made, a new set of controls was put in place to track checks, Hudson said at the time.

Now, checks are sent to the county court financial officer, who credits the accounts of the counties making the payments before directing the check to county bookkeeping.

Nations is free on a $50,000 bond.