COLUMBUS, Miss. (WTVA) - The former City of Columbus chief financial officer (CFO) is accused of embezzling money.
Special agents with the State Auditor’s Office arrested Milton Rawle Jr. Monday in Jackson County.
He was issued a demand showing he owes $354,896.27 to taxpayers in Columbus, according to State Auditor Shad White.
Rawle allegedly embezzled near $290,000 by making electronic money transfers to personal bank accounts from December 2016 to December 2018.
To hide the unauthorized transactions, White said Rawle purportedly used official-sounding labels like “payroll” and “reimbursement.” Investigators also believe he used clip art to alter city bank statements to conceal the transfers.
He was transported to Lowndes County where bond will set by the court.
If convicted, Rawle faces up to 20 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
Columbus Mayor Robert Smith issued the following statement Tuesday:
"Columbus Mayor Robert Smith, Sr. extends thanks to Wanda Holley, CPA, from Watkins Ward and Stafford, for analyzing City of Columbus’ financial records and working with the State of Mississippi Auditor’s Office and the Lowndes County District Attorney for conducting the investigation that led to the arrest of Milton Rawle, Jr.
Columbus Mayor Robert Smith Sr. and Columbus Chief Operating Officer, David Armstrong asked the State of Mississippi Auditor’s Office and the Lowndes County District Attorney to conduct the investigation following the resignation of the former Chief Financial Officer, Milton Rawle, Jr. The Columbus City Council fully supported this investigation.
This is an ongoing criminal case so no further information will be released at this time by the City of Columbus. Any further questions on the case should be directed to the Lowndes County District Attorney’s office."