Courts & Crime

Embezzling on the rise on Mississippi's Gulf Coast

BILOXI, Miss. — More Mississippi Gulf Coast employees are being accused of biting the hands that feed them by embezzling money they're entrusted to handle.

At least six cases reported in July account for losses of more than $1.1 million, with the bulk taken from Hancock Bank’s main Ocean Springs branch. The bank has fired the branch operations manager and a teller and turned the case over to the FBI.

Coast law enforcement officials say they’ve seen more embezzlements since Hurricane Katrina. July just happened to be an eye-popping month because of the amount of money reported taken.

Those accusations and the recent resolution of a couple of big-money cases point to how greed or financial need can easily turn trusted employees into white-collar criminals. Investigators say smaller businesses typically are more at risk. But the bigger the business, the greater the chance of a more complex cover-up over a prolonged period and a higher potential loss.

To read the complete article, visit