PANOLA COUNTY, MS (abc24.com) - Scheming, fraud and embezzlement. Mississippi auditors just wrapped up a four year long investigation in Panola County. It involves an elaborate plan by the former county administrator to embezzle millions.
Auditors have been investigating since 2008 along with the FBI and U.S. Attorney's office.
Four people have been indicted. This week, auditors focused on returning money taken from the county.
"Today will represent the conclusion of the moneys we can recover to the tune of $230,000," State Auditor Stacey Pickering told three county aldermen as he handed them a final check.
The check brings an end to one giant conspiracy in Panola County, centering around former county administrator David Chandler.
"When he retired and we hired a new county administrator everything came out then," says board president Kelly Morris.
Chandler was involved in two big embezzlement schemes, facing 26 charges.
He pleaded guilty to embezzlement and fraud for stealing almost $130,000 from his state retirement fund.
"There were several things he did to get money not entitled to him and inflate his retirement," says Pickering.
Chandler was also involved in a kick-back scheme surrounding the sale of a Batesville hospital.
"This started off on small level and expanded into a much larger investigation. Now it's all out in the open," Pickering says. "Mr. Chandler pled guilty and has been cooperative with the state and there have been three other guilty convictions."
Pickering says it's his job to recover the money. Federal authorities will dole out the punishment.
"During the month of May, he'll be sentenced. He's already pled guilty, and has been a cooperating witness with the state. In May he'll be sentenced for his guilty plea. What that will be we'll have to find out."
"We're really hoping we get some more money from him," Morris says. "We know a lot more is out there."