The three Neshoba County employees who pleaded guilty to embezzling taxpayer monies in 2016 paid approximately $57,000 in restitution last fiscal year, according to the annual exemptions report issueed by State Auditor Shad White.

All three were sentenced to 25 years in custody with 15 years suspended and 10 to serve in September 2016. They were released after serving one year in prison. 

Of the three, former Comptroller Jill Watkins accounted for the bulk of the total repaid with $50,827.34 in payments for Fiscal Year 2020. 

Watkins was ordered to pay a lump sum account from her PERS retirement account, which she did last August totaling nearly $46,000. In addition to a formal demand of $459,630.65, Watkins was also ordered to pay an additional $15,000 after being released from probation. Her remaining balance is $400,314.21.

Former purchasing clerk Julie Faye Russell made $5,634 worth of payments for Fiscal Year 2020. She was also ordered to pay the county in a lump sum from her PERS account which she did prior to this fiscal year. 

A formal demand was initially ordered for $449,130.47 and an additional $15,000 was added upon release from probation. Her remaining balance is $247,734.33.

Former payroll clerk Tammy Gomillion repaid $600 during Fiscal Year 2020. She was issued with a formal demand for $444,834.56 plus an additional $42,220.55 after being released from probation. She, too, had to pay a lump sum from her PERS account which she did prior to this fiscal year. Her remaining balance is $372,149.22.



In addition to the three Neshoba County employees, former Philadelphia Municipal Clerk Karen Refre appeared on the Auditor’s exception report. 

Refre, who embezzled aproximately $26,000 from Philadelphia Municipal Court by taking cash collected by her office, was sentenced this past March to two years in prison and five years probation. 

According to the Auditor’s report, a formal demand was issued in August 2019 in the amount of $25,746.59. As part of a plea agreement, she was ordered to pay $14,163.90 to Travelers and $5,836.10 after 90 days from release in custody. The bonding company paid the balance in full to the city of Philadelphia.