Former probation officer pleads guilty to embezzlement

April 18, 2022 GMT

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — A former Mississippi Department of Corrections probation officer faces up to 80 years in prison after pleading guilty to four counts of embezzlement for taking more than $4,000 from people who were trying to pay court-ordered fines and fees.

Dendrick Hurd, 28, entered the plea Monday, a day before his trial was set to begin in Forrest County Circuit Court, the Hattiesburg American reported.

Hurd told probationers to buy money orders and leave them blank, and he then used the money orders for his own benefit according to state Auditor Shad White. Victims contacted the auditor’s office to report money was not credited to their accounts between February 2020 and June 2021.

Hurd told Circuit Judge Bob Helfrich he was guilty of the crimes for which he was charged. Hurd entered an open plea, which means no agreement was made with the district attorney’s office. He faces up 20 years for each charge and up to $20,000 in fines.

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Helfrich ordered Hurd taken into custody until sentencing, which will be set later.

Although Hurd was indicted for embezzling $4,150, the auditor’s office said in a December news release that it issued a demand for Hurd to pay $8,668, which also includes interest and investigative expenses.