Vancleave woman pleads not guilty to embezzling $72K from store

Shirley Forehand Atkinson
Shirley Forehand Atkinson

GAUTIER -- A Vancleave woman has pleaded not guilty to charges of stealing thousands of dollars from a check-cashing business where she worked.

Shirley Atkinson, 52, is out of jail awaiting trial on eight counts of felony embezzlement. Her trial is set to begin Nov. 2.

Gautier police launched the investigation in December after the owner of Check Plus LLC on U.S. 90 reported Atkinson had embezzled more than $60,000 from his business. The owner told police Atkinson had been the store's manager for 12 years.

Police arrested her on felony embezzlement in January, but a Jackson County grand jury reviewed evidence and indicted her on seven additional counts.

According to the indictment, she is accused in the embezzlement of more than $72,000.

The money was taken between April 2009 and November 2014.

Felony embezzlement carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. If convicted of all of the charges, Atkinson could go to prison for up to 80 years.

Assistant District Attorney Justin Lovorn is prosecuting the case.