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WATER VALLEY – A former Yalobusha County sheriff has been indicted for one count of embezzlement. William Lance Humphreys is charged with unlawfully embezzling $4,829 from the county’s “Inmate Canteen Account,” funds intended to provide educational and recreational resources to county inmates according to State Auditor Shad White. The former sheriff is accused of transferring money from the canteen account directly to his own personal bank account during a five-month period in 2018. The purported transfers were reported by a Yalobusha Sheriff’s office employee who was gathering documents to be audited.
“This is, unfortunately another case where funds intended to benefit prisoners were stolen,” White reported in a press release Monday. “It’s the second arrest we’ve made like this in the last month. We will continue to enforce the law to protect taxpayers and other victims.”
Humphreys was indicted during the September 2021 Grand Jury session last Thursday. He surrendered to special agents with the auditor’s office at the Yalobusha County Detention Center Monday afternoon and bonded out later that day. The auditor issued a $10,867.30 demand letter to the former sheriff, which includes investigative costs and interest in addition to the amount allegedly embezzled. Auditor White reported a $100,000 surety bond covers the time Humphreys served as Yalobusha County Sheriff. Humphreys will be liable for the full amount of the demand in addition to the criminal charge.
If convicted, Humphreys faces up to 20 years in prison or $5,000 in fines. The indictment is not an indication of guilt, but instead means there was probable cause to charge him with the crime. The case will be prosecuted by District Attorney John Champion’s office.
Humphreys started his career in 1994 at the Water Valley Police Department and served a quarter-century in law enforcement. He was appointed to sheriff in 2006 following a vacancy in the office. He was elected sheriff a year later and was elected for two more terms. Humphreys retired from law enforcement at the end of 2019 after he was unsuccessful in his campaign for a fourth term as sheriff.
During his 13 years as sheriff, Humphreys is credited for modernizing the department. This work included establishing a single, centralized communication center allowing dispatchers to communicate directly with law enforcement officers, fire fighters and EMS workers for all emergency calls in the county. Humphreys’ department also was one of the first in north Mississippi to switch to the MS-Win radio system to ensure that every first responder in the county could communicate on the same radio network. Humphreys also assisted county supervisors with planning and constructing a jail in the county.