Ocean Springs Businessman Pleads Guilty to Federal Program Fraud
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 20, 2014|
HATTIESBURG, MS—Scott Walker, 34, of Ocean Springs, pled guilty today in U.S. District Court to one count of federal program fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit federal program fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis and FBI Special Agent in Charge Daniel McMullen.
Walker admitted creating and submitting a false invoice in the amount of $180,000 to the City of D’Iberville for payment of consulting services that were never performed in connection with a $3 million grant issued to the City of D’Iberville by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.
Additionally, Walker admitted conspiring with his father, William Walker, to divert federal grant monies in a scheme that resulted in the federal grant monies being used to unlawfully purchase Scott Walker’s personal property in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.
“Today’s guilty plea concludes a significant case of fraud committed against the City of D’Iberville,” said U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis. “Today’s guilty plea also takes us one step closer to holding accountable those who, through the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, fraudulently diverted and misused both federal grants and money belonging to the State of Mississippi.”
Daniel McMullen, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Mississippi, stated: “I’d like to recognize and commend the investigators whose tenacious pursuit of the truth resulted in this guilty plea. Scott Walker has admitted to and is taking responsibility for conspiring with others, including other public officials, to defraud the United States government for personal gain, validating the case the investigators had built against him. Crimes of this nature do not affect just one person or one community. Public corruption is just that—a corruption that affects everyone, if only by undermining their trust.”
Walker will be sentenced on May 6, 2014 at 1:30 p.m. by U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett in Hattiesburg. The maximum penalty for theft of government funds is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for conspiracy is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the Mississippi State Auditor’s Office. Criminal Division Chief John Dowdy, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jerry Rushing and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Golden are prosecuting the case.