The former Mayor of Moss Point will spend more than two years in prison after pleading guilty to fraud charges.
Mario King and his wife, Natasha, were charged with ‘conspiracy to commit wire fraud’ after using funds raised under the guise of the 2019 Mayor’s Gala for personal gain. Mario King was sentenced to 30 months in prison while Natasha received a three-year term of probation with six months of home confinement. Both were ordered to pay $6,937.98 in restitution.
In late 2018, the pair began soliciting donations for the event while promising that the funds would support “organizations making a difference for the mental health community.” The Kings also specifically mentioned a focus on the Moss Point School District and the possibility of “converting spaces into a therapeutic and innovative learning environment.”
An investigation led by State Auditor Shad White and the FBI found that the couple ended up using the proceeds for personal purchases, including the down payment on the purchase of a vehicle, cash withdrawals and the payment of credit card debts involving charges to complete the purchase of a pet.
“The King case came to our office when a whistleblower approached me many months ago. We then began working closely across state and federal entities to move the case forward. It’s good to see the case come to a conclusion today,” White following the sentencing. “This should be a lesson to every politician: you cannot lie and defraud the public of money.”
The Kings pled guilty back on February 24, 2021.
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