Crime

Thousands stolen from children's inheritance fund in Jackson County. Where did it go?

Shannon Lee Werneth
Shannon Lee Werneth

An inheritance fund was to be set up for two children from a life insurance policy after their father died in August 2013.

Nearly five years later, the Ocean Springs woman named their guardian has been arrested, accused of taking nearly $234,000 from the children.

A chancery court judge ordered Shannon Lee Werneth to set up an account at Keesler Federal Credit Union to maintain control over the children's money, a complaint filed with the sheriff's department says.

The order specified that Werneth's withdrawals on the children's behalf had to be approved by the court first. She also was to give the court an annual accounting of the children's funds.

An investigation shows Werneth did not put money in the bank and has failed to show the court how the money was spent, sheriff's spokeswoman Marcia Hill said.

Deputies arrested Werneth on an outstanding arrest warrant Thursday. She has been indicted on an embezzlement charge.

Werneth was being held on a $20,000 bond Friday at the Jackson County jail.

Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

Robin Fitzgerald, 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews
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