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Press Release

Hattiesburg Man Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy To Embezzle And Commit Mail Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Mississippi

Hattiesburg, Miss. – Jerry Wayne Woodland, 52, of Hattiesburg, pled guilty today in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to steal food and food-related items from the Forrest County Detention Center and conspiracy to commit mail fraud to cover it up, announced U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis and FBI Special Agent in Charge Don Alway.

Woodland, a former kitchen employee with the Forrest County Detention Center, was charged in a Criminal Information, filed on November 24, 2014, with conspiracy to steal over $5,000 worth of items from a local governmental agency and to commit mail fraud. Woodland worked for the Detention Center from at least 2002 through 2014. During that time, he conspired with others to embezzle food or food-related items from the jail by transporting or having such items transported to the homes or businesses of Woodland or his co-conspirators.

Woodland and others also conspired to commit mail fraud in order to accomplish their theft by ordering food from various vendors and concealing the purchase of the food by drafting and submitting Forrest County purchase requisition forms that contained fraudulent entries hiding the items. As a result, invoices were mailed and payments were made for the stolen food.

Woodland will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett on March 9, 2015 at 10:15 a.m. The maximum penalty for conspiracy is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Mississippi State Auditor’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst is prosecuting the case.

Updated January 12, 2015