A former Hancock County Justice Court deputy clerk was sentenced Thursday to at least six years in prison for embezzling more than $100,000 in public funds.
Circuit Court Judge Roger T. Clark sentenced Dana Sue Beaman to 20 years with 14 suspended, leaving six years to serve concurrently on each of two separate counts of embezzlement, followed by five years of supervised release.
The district attorney's office had recommended Beaman serve at least eight years. It also recommended that Beaman pay a $2,000 fine; restitution in the amount of $10,827 to Hancock County; restitution of $1,036 to the Worthless Check Division; $50,000 in restitution to Travelers Casualty and Surety Insurance Company; and $50,000 in restitution to RLI Surety Insurance Company.
Clark suspended the $2,000 fine, but ordered Beaman must pay the $10,827 to the county and $1,036 to the Worthless Check Division. He took the remaining recommended restitution "under advisement," and said he would address it in a later order.
Beaman, 42, pled guilty to both counts of embezzlement earlier this month.
She served as a justice court deputy clerk from January 2008 until June 2011. After a lengthy investigation, she was arrested in July 2017.
Initially, she admitted to embezzling around $4,000 from justice court, but when the Hancock County Sheriff's Office called in the state auditor's office, that amount vastly increased, District Attorney Joel Smith said after Beaman entered her guilty plea.
"The investigation began in May 2011 when former Hancock County Justice Court Clerk Elizabeth Martin discovered errors in the filing of court documents," Smith said in a news release. "This led to an inquiry by Ms. Martin with the assistance of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office where Beaman admitted to taking the public funds. The Office of the State Auditor (OSA) was then contacted, and they assumed the investigation into the matter.
"Over a six-year period, the Auditor’s Office reviewed over 45,000 records finding over 440 discrepancies associated with Beaman’s handling of payments in Hancock County Justice Court cases. These discrepancies were confirmed by numerous witnesses that were interviewed and identified Beaman as the clerk that received their payments."
The OSA determined that Beaman took $110,827 over the course of about three years, Assistant District Attorney Christ Daniel said.
After sentencing on Thursday, Beaman was remanded to the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.