Former Jackson County deputy sentenced for embezzling $37K

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A former Jackson County deputy has been sentenced after embezzling over $37,000 from the police department’s seizure account in 2022.

Johnny Ray Jefferson, 52, pled guilty to taking money from the account after funds were reported missing following a U.S. Border Patrol interdiction on I-10 in December 2022.

According to court documents, a portion of the $125,000 seizure was said to have been stolen once the funds were processed at the South Mississippi Metro Enforcement Team Office. Approximately $13,400 in $50 bills were reported missing after the seizure was in Jefferson’s possession.

Jefferson returned the stolen funds during a meeting with a supervisor shortly after, with investigators revealing that the suspect had also embezzled money totaling $23,900 from seizure packages three other times.

In all, Jefferson was said to have taken a total of $37,300 between August 2022 and December 2022. He has since returned the remaining embezzled funds to the FBI and circuit clerk.

Judge Kathy Jackson handed down Jefferson’s sentencing in Pascagoula on Friday, with the first-time offender issuing a statement during the plea.

“I apologize to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force. I lied, I stole, and I am very sorry for it. I am also sorry to my friends and family,” Jefferson said.

Jefferson was then sentenced to serve 20 years with 15 years suspended and five years on the Intensive Supervision Program, with the balance of his time on post-release supervision.

“We accepted this case as a special assignment from the Jackson County District Attorney,” District Attorney W. Crosby Parker said. “It is a great disappointment to see someone with over three decades of service to the community end their career with a crime involving their duties. We cannot tolerate these breaches of public trust, and we must hold the offenders accountable.”

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