District 2 Hinds County Election Commissioner Toni Johnson pleads guilty in embezzlement scheme
HINDS COUNTY, Miss. — Hinds County District 2 Election Commissioner Toni Johnson has pleaded guilty to charges of embezzlement.
Johnson entered the guilty plea Monday after jury selection began for her trial.
According to the state auditor’s office, Johnson used COVID-19 funds from the Center for Tech and Civic Life, a nonprofit organization funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, to purchase two 85-inch televisions and personal protective equipment, which she purportedly had delivered to her own home and one other private residence.
Two others, Cedric Cornelius and Sudie Jones-Teague, have already pleaded guilty to various counts of bribery of a public official, conspiracy to make/submit fraudulent statements to the government, making/submitting false statements to defraud the government, and making/submitting false writings to defraud the government.
In exchange for Johnson’s guilty plea, the state will recommend a total sentence of 20 years in custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with 15 years suspended and five years of that sentence to be served in the Intensive Supervised Probation Program.
Johnson will also have to pay restitution in the amount of $24,216 with $50,000 to be paid within 60 days of Johnson’s guilty plea.
“Today’s plea brings to a conclusion another example of blatant public corruption uncovered by the Office of the State Auditor and successfully prosecuted by our office, said Hinds county District Attorney, Jody Owens.”
According to the Hinds county district attorney’s office, Jones-Teague and Cornelius are expected to be sentenced in the coming months.