Ex-Lawmaker From Durant Faces Embezzlement Charges - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Ex-Lawmaker From Durant Faces Embezzlement Charges

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BRYAN COUNTY, OK -- He spent years representing Oklahoma. Now, a former lawmaker stands accused of stealing thousands of dollars.

The accusations include forging other people's signatures on checks and officials say it happened while he was serving as director of an economic development agency in a small southern town.

Former Oklahoma lawmaker Jay Paul Gumm is accused of embezzling $24,000 while working in Mississippi.

"This is pretty much a straightforward case of a public employee embezzling from their business, betraying the trust of the taxpayers," says Mississippi State Auditor Stacey Pickering.

"He maintains his innocence and he hasn't had to enter a plea at this time and I assure you when he does have to enter a plea, it will be not guilty," says Gumm's attorney Jim Davis.

Gumm, 49, of Wiggins, Miss., lived in Durant and represented the area in the State Senate in Oklahoma City from 2002 to 2010. Upon losing re-election, he found a new job in Mississippi, and moved his family to Stone County in 2011.

The chairwoman of the Stone County Economic Development Partnership says the board had to fire Gumm and his executive secretary back in December, when the secretary Tina Gillespie was also arrested and accused of stealing $300,000, starting before Gumm arrived.

"Law enforcement claims that this Mrs. Gillespie stole large sums of money and they are not contending that Mr. Gumm stole any money anywhere near the amount that are being mentioned for Mrs. Gillespie," says Davis.

"Unfortunately what I think we're gonna find is it was just a culture of corruption in that office, lack of oversight, and we found out not only through whistleblowers, but through the audit process," says Pickering.

According to Pickering's office, Gumm is accused of depositing $11,000 into his personal account and fraudulently withholding a $2,000 personal check.

"He did have to forge up to six checks in order for some of this fraud to take place, others he actually deposited checks made out to the Economic Development authority in his own personal accounts, and actually took cash," says Pickering.

"We just wait to see if there even is enough evidence to warrant an indictment against Mr. Gumm," says Davis.

Gumm was arrested Friday, booked in on embezzlement, and made an initial court appearance. He posted $20,000 bond and was released from the Stone County Jail on Saturday.