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Former Water Association Boss Pleads Guilty

by Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal Djournal.Com

ABERDEEN, Miss (WCBI) – Former North Lee Water Association manager Dan Durham pleaded guilty today to lying about water samples.

Durham, who was forced to resign from his post in October 2011 amid employees’ allegations of corruption, appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Sharion Aycock.

The government accused Durham of one count of intentionally making false or fictitious statements to the government, which carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison and $250,000 fine.

The charge focused on reports that claimed samples were taken from multiple sites when they actually were taken from only one, on County Road 503 in Lee County.

He will not be sentenced for several months while the U.S. Probation Service prepares a report about him for Aycock to consider.

Durham was forced from the water association after employees claimed his involvement in various misdeeds, which they reported to the Daily Journal.

Among them were that Durham forced water employees to work side jobs for him while they were on the clock at North Lee. Other jobs occurred on properties owned by then-board president Mitchell Scruggs.

Scruggs, who owns a large farm supply business and farms thousands of acres locally, resigned from the board, along with other members.

The employees also claimed that Durham falsified water sample test results to the Mississippi Department of Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

They said he collected all water samples at one location but reported them as coming from multiple locations throughout the district.

Scruggs and Durham denied all the allegations.