Columbus police investigate shocking embezzlement case

A Columbus city councilman is listed as the beneficiary of an alleged embezzlement scheme.

Posted: Oct 2, 2018 4:52 PM
Updated: Oct 3, 2018 11:05 AM

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WTVA) - A Columbus city councilman is listed as the beneficiary of an alleged embezzlement scheme.

Sharon Smith, a worker at Bargain Hunt, is accused of not charging a select group of people for their store items.

Sharon Renae Smith | Photo: Columbus PD

The store estimated the goods to be worth approximately $3,219.45. However, the amount could be higher.

A store loss prevention official said this involved the same customers coming through multiple times.

According to the police report, those customers included Ward 5 Councilman Stephen Jones and his wife Stephanie Jones.

Stephen Jones had been verified to have left the store on four occasions with unpaid items, according to the police report. His wife reportedly left the store on two occasions with unpaid items.

Columbus Police Chief Fred Shelton says store workers had been watching Smith since June and his department was notified last week.

He says Smith is currently the only person charged in the case. According to Bargain Hunt's company policy, they only seek prosecution and restitution from store employees and not any customers involved.

On Wednesday, Jones released the following statement to WTVA:

"I was as surprised as anyone to hear my name involved in the situation. I wasn't contacted prior to the press release by anyone, so I am still learning what I am apparently accused of along with everyone else watching the news. I have always paid for everything I've gotten from Bargain Hunt - or any other store for that matter. I'm hoping to get the matter cleared up as soon as possible."

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