Trials set in state cases against former DMR employees

calee@sunherald.comApril 4, 2014 

Larsen

JOHN FITZHUGH — SUN HERALD Buy Photo

BILOXI -- Leslie Gollott is scheduled to be the first of five former Department of Marine Resources employees tried on felony embezzlement charges, April 21 in Harrison County Circuit Court.

All five former employees pleaded not guilty to the state charges at hearings in December. They were arrested in November, after having retired or resigned during state and federal investigations that led to the charges.

The federal investigation netted former DMR Executive Director Bill Walker, former DMR Chief of Staff Joe Ziegler, former DMR manager Tina Shumate and Walker's son, consultant Scott Walker, who did not work for the DMR. The Walkers have pleaded guilty to federal charges and await sentencing. Shumate and Ziegler, scheduled to be tried in federal court June 6, maintain their innocence.

Shumate, former director of DMR's Office of Coastal Resource Management and Planning, also faces trial May 19 on six charges in the state case.

She allegedly embezzled a total of $1,350.11 through fraudulent DMR travel vouchers, embezzled $500 by cashing a check written on the DMR's Coastal Resource and Management Planning account and tampered with a witness when she tried to persuaded Leslie Gollott to "conceal unlawful use" of the CRMP checking account.

Kerwin Cuevas, former director of DMR's artificial reef program, faces two embezzlement charges in the state case. He was granted a continuance because he wanted more time to gather and examine evidence, according to the court file. His trial is scheduled for Aug. 4. Cuevas allegedly used his DMR fuel card on two occasions, charging a total of $1,367.75 for his personal benefit.

Former DMR geographic system coordinator Grant Larsen was indicted on one embezzlement charge for allegedly submitting a $821.91 travel voucher for expenses he did not incur. His trial is set for May 12. Susan Perkins, former DMR spokeswoman and coordinator in the CRMP office, faces trial May 19 on two charges of embezzlement. She allegedly submitted two false travel vouchers totaling $670.

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