Two Economic Developers Indicted in Bribery and Embezzlement Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 21, 2012|
Felicia C. Adams, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi; Daniel McMullen, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Mississippi; and Robert Anderson, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General in New Orleans, announced that Connie Lewis, 52, of Jackson, Mississippi, and Linda Balducci, 59, of Shelby, Mississippi, were named in a superseding indictment charging them in connection with an embezzlement and bribery scheme related to federal grant funds and the construction of community housing projects in the Mississippi Delta.
Lewis, an employee of the Mississippi Development Authority, faces nine counts of accepting a total of over $250,000 in cash bribes from Jimmy Stokes, a general contractor in the Mississippi Delta, in return for her influence at the Mississippi Development Authority in directing federal grant funds to Stokes Construction Company. If convicted, Lewis faces up to 85 years in prison and $2,250,000 in fines.
Balducci faces three counts of conspiring with Jimmy Stokes to embezzle federal grant funds in connection with the construction of low income housing in Isola, Mississippi. Balducci serves as Executive Director of Southeastern Development Opportunities, Inc. located in Shelby, Mississippi. If convicted, Balducci faces up to 25 years in prison and $750,000 in fines.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Clay Dabbs and Clay Joyner.
Both defendants have been released on bond. Trial is set for February 11, 2013.