ABERDEEN, Miss. (WCBI)- Aberdeen Mayor Maurice Howard is set to appear before a judge next month for allegedly embezzling more than $3,400 from the city.
In October, Howard was arrested and charged with five counts of embezzlement.
While the charges are being brought against Howard, he maintains his innocence.
“There is no embezzlement, there is an embezzle-lie,” said Howard. “These charges are false, they are erroneous claims.”
The indictment states that the alleged embezzlement happened from April 2017 to September of 2017.
For the first count, Howard is accused of taking $424.40, which was supposed to be used for attending a Mississippi Development Authority Class in Jackson.
The second count states the mayor misused $1,272.43.
Those funds were was supposed to be used to attend an economic development event in Saginaw, Michigan.
Count three accuses the Aberdeen mayor of allegedly taking $1,128.00 that was supposed to be used for attending a Huddle House Investment meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.
The fourth count accuses the mayor of embezzling $362.90.
The indictment states those funds were given to Howard to go to a Tenn-Tom conference in Point Clear, Alabama.
The fifth count states Howard allegedly misused $285.00, which was supposed to be used for attending a Governor’s Conference in Jackson.
According to the indictment, Howard did not attend these events nor did he use the money for its designated purposes.
However, the mayor calls all of the accusations false.
He said he attended all of the events and turned in his receipts showing how the money was used.
Howard claims the city clerk’s office falsified his receipts when they turned them into the state auditors office due to the city having a vendetta against him.
“It’s like this, if I feel like I can’t beat you then I have to falsify things against you to try and bring you down,” the mayor expressed. “It’s a political assassination, it’s done all over the country it just happens to be in my neck of the woods at this moment. If I feel like I can’t beat you what’s the next best thing, let’s create some falsified charges and see if they stick.”
Mayor Howard said he has his receipts showing he took every trip and did not misuse a single dime.
However, when asked if we could we see the receipts, Howard said he’s going to wait until the appropriate time before showing them.
“I’m not trying to prove my case to you,” said Mayor Howard. “I don’t have to prove my case to the media. I have to prove my case to those people in the proper places and so this is not the court of law, this is not the time for that.”
The mayor said he pled not guilty to all five counts being brought against him.
WCBI reached out to the city clerk’s office and asked if the mayor turned in his receipts, at this time we’re still waiting to hear back from them.
Court records show Howard is expected to appear before judge on February 11th.