Eddins receives probation in parks and rec embezzlement case

Schronda Eddins, left, and her attorney, Mark Williamson in court Tuesday. Eddins will serve five years probation and pay $15,200 to the city of Starkville on charges of conspiracy to fraud the state of Mississippi. (Photo by Charlie Benton, SDN)

Staff Writer

One of five former Starkville Parks and Recreation Department employees indicted following an embezzlement investigation was sentenced Tuesday in Mississippi's 16th Circuit Court in Starkville.

Columbus native Schronda Eddins, 39, will serve five years probation on the charge of conspiracy to defraud the state of Mississippi by embezzling money from the department. The sentence was handed down by Mississippi 16th Circuit Court Judge Lee Howard. Eddins will also be required to pay an agreed restitution of $15,200 to the city of Starkville. She holds a prior felony false pretense conviction.

She is charged with entering an unlawful agreement, combination or conspiracy with former Starkville Parks and Recreaton Director Herman Peters between the dates of Jan. 1, 2015 and Nov. 30, 2017.

Peters, Eddins and other contract employees of the department were regularly paid for hours they did not work over the period. The $15,200 Eddins embezzled was the largest amount embezzled by the four employees charged.

The total amount embezzled was $21,702.50, with former employees Marion Watson, Dianne Evans and Anthony Stevenson accused of embezzling $2,420, $2,000 and $4,082.50, respectively.

At one point during the sentencing, Eddins began to cry and had to leave the courtroom briefly with her attorney, Mark Williamson, to ask a question on the case.

Eddins originally pleaded not guilty, but changed her plea to guilty prior to the case going to trial.