A former Mississippi airport manager has been charged with embezzling government funds to be used in part for gambling. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
The former Mississippi airport manager has been indicted for embezzlement following an investigation by the state’s office of auditors.
Use your Tunica County Airport credit card to pay for your personal expenses, including gambling
Eric Konopka is said to have used a Tunica County Airport credit card to pay for his personal expenses, including gambling at local casinos. He also used the card to withdraw cash from ATMs, money he later used to cover a restaurant bill and buy food, car supplies, energy drinks, and cigarettes.
The Mississippi Attorney General’s Office handles the prosecution. If convicted, Konopka could face fines of thousands of dollars and up to 20 years in prison.
Konopka was indicted by a district court and ordered to pay $9,259.55 to the government for his fraudulent use of a credit card. The fine covers the money he spent plus interest, plus investigation fees.
According to the state auditor, Chad White, the amount of money has nothing to do with the case. Instead, a simple embezzlement of government funds was enough to justify his participation.
We will stop any misuse of taxpayer money”
“Whether it’s the largest public fraud in the state or an employee using a government purchase card to buy things worth a few thousand dollars for themselves, we will stop any misuse of taxpayer money,” he said. White said in a statement. “We must rely on prosecutors to decide when to indict someone with a crime, so I am grateful for the cooperation between investigators and prosecutors on this case.”
Konopka has already been enlisted and will wait in Florida, where he was originally arrested, until a court date is set by a Mississippi judge. No information was disclosed about how the lost money was found.
The accused worked at the airport, which is considered a government agency, from 2003 to 21. According to White’s statement, his working time is protected by a clause designed to prevent taxpayers from becoming corrupt.
More Mississippi embezzlement cases
Mississippi is still trying to work its way out of the ongoing Brett Favre controversy. According to multiple reports, the Hall of Fame, with the help of former Governor Phil Bryant, directed taxpayer money with the goal of funding welfare to help build a new volleyball arena at his daughter’s school, University of Southern Mississippi.
Mississippi has the highest poverty rate of any US state at 19.58%, a full percentage ahead of the nearest state (Louisiana).
Meanwhile, embezzlement cases have spread all over the world. A week ago, an Indonesian provincial governor became the subject of an investigation after he was found gambling at Crown Resorts in Australia. Indonesian authorities claimed to have found $36.2 million in Lucas Enembi’s account, despite him receiving only an annual salary of $7,764.
In late July, it was revealed that a Welsh financial manager had stolen more than £47,000 ($56,629) in 2020 from a charity she was working on.