The Mississippi State Auditor, Stacey Pickering, announced that the Alcorn County Sheriff, Charles Rinehart, has been arrested. Along with two others, the Alcorn County Sheriff faces 10 counts of fraud and conspiracy.
The charges against the Alcorn County Sheriff were filed due to an investigation into the purchase of six cars over three years from the Cars for Less dealership owned by Teddy and Pamela Denise Null. According to the indictment, the Cars for Less dealership submitted false quotes for the vehicles in order to ensure that Alcorn County would purchase the cars from them.
Sheriff Rinehart submitted the bids to the county for the purchase of the cars. Teddy and Pamela Null did not disclose the condition that the vehicles were in. The investigation also uncovered that the cars may have been rebuilt with stolen parts. Auditor Stacey Pickering went into more details while speaking with the media.
“Based on our investigation, Sheriff Rinehart used his position to manipulate the system. Teddy Null and Pamela Denise Null conspired with the Sheriff to ensure their company received the Sheriff’s business while not disclosing the condition of all the salvage vehicles to the County. In addition, our investigation has uncovered questions relating to the business operation at Cars for Less in Alcorn County. The Behavior of the Sheriff and this vendor is deplorable and will not be tolerated.”
Last week, Sheriff Rinehart was issued a demand for payment in the amount of $181,161.93. It was discovered that the Alcorn County Sheriff misused funds that were to be used for The Alcorn County Regional Correctional Facility Technology Fund, The Alcorn County Sheriff’s Commissary Account, and The Alcorn County Regional Correctional Facility.
District Attorney John Weddle has assured the citizens of Alcorn County that corruption will not be tolerated by any public official.
“Alcorn County citizens deserve fair and honest public officials they elect to office. They should expect their officials to have good judgment in dealing with vendors. This indictment is another step forward in protecting the people of this district from fraudulent practices.”
Rinehart posted his own bail that was set at $25,000 and his first appearance in court is scheduled for July 1, 2015.
These incidents are not the first time that Rinehart was on the wrong side of the law. A former employee of Sheriff Rinehart, Michelle Cohoon-Loyd, filled a sexual harassment suit against the sheriff in 2013. The lawsuit states that Sheriff Rinehart attempted to kiss Cohoon-Loyd on two separate occasions in 2012.
Charles Rinehart was elected Alcorn County Sherrif in 2008.
What punishment should be handed down by the state of Mississippi and Alcorn County?
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