Indicted deputy resigns; charged in
alleged scheme to pad his paychecks

(DESOTO COUNTY, Miss.) -- Citing "personal reasons," a DeSoto County Sheriff's Deputy resigned Thursday, the same day he was indicted by a Shelby County grand jury for an alleged payroll padding scheme while working for the Memphis Police Department.

James Stepp, who faces charges of theft over $10,000 but less than $60, 000 in Shelby County, was hired by the DeSoto County department on Sept. 5, according to Commander Jim Dunn, director of personnel and internal affairs for the DeSoto County Sheriff's Department.

If convicted, Stepp could face a possible prison sentence of 3 to 6 years.

"He resigned Thursday morning citing personal reasons," Dunn said.

At the time of his resignation, Dunn said the department was not aware of the indictment. "We learned about it when it broke on the news (Thursday)."

Dunn said he could not comment on Stepp's performance during his short stint with the DeSoto County Sheriff's Department.

"I am not at liberty to answer any other questions," Dunn told the DeSoto Appeal.

The indictment alleges that Stepp added overtime, either cash or compensatory time, to his paycheck.

Stepp was one of six MPD officers indicted on felony theft charges.

All six of those charged Thursday surrendered to authorities and were released on $1,000 bonds.

Others charged as a result of the indictment were Maj. Sidney Johnson, 50, a 26-year veteran, Lt. Charles Newell, 44, a 21-year veteran, payroll officers Paul Elrod, Alfreda Banks-Williams and Mona Ingram-Griffin.

The indictments are part of an ongoing investigation and follow grand jury action against two other MPD officers.

On Oct. 31, two officers, Roosevelt Twilley and Rodney Askew, were indicted on official misconduct charges for allegedly pocketing more than $400 in department funds intended to pay their expenses at a professional conference in Meridian, Miss.

(iSyndicate; The Commercial Appeal; Nov. 11, 2000). Terms and Conditions: Copyright(c) 2000 LEXIS-NEXIS, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights Reserved.

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