Mannsville residents have been watching a case involving a former town officer, Shonda Lou Barnes, for more than seven months.
Barnes is the defendant in a Johnston County felony case filed Dec. 27, 2017. District Attorney Craig Ladd filed the felony charge of embezzlement of state money after an investigation into an allegation from August 2014 in which Barnes allegedly made a knowingly false entry into an account related to state funds on behalf of the Town of Mannsville.
The charging documents in the case allege this was done in Barnes’ capacity as town Treasurer. Court records state the defendant allegedly submitted a written Rural Economics Action Plan (REAP) to request reimbursement of funds from representatives of the Southern Oklahoma Development Association (SODA) on behalf of Mannsville for a construction project at the Volunteer Fire Department.
According to the court records filed by the DA’s office, those funds had not yet been spent so the request for reimbursement was false. The document further said funds were disbursed from Johnston County monies for the same project in February 2015, which allegedly resulted in the town wrongfully receiving reimbursement from SODA. The amount of the funds under dispute totals $4,212.20.
Additional charges were filed in April 2018 with three additional felony counts of embezzlement. Those additional allegations include Barnes receiving profit or interest for personal use due to her position as town Treasurer. The allegations include a $254.54 withdrawal from a bank account which belonged to the town and two instances of sale of scrap metal in the amounts of $266.71 and $201.22.
Each count is punishable by a fine not to exceed $500 and/or imprisonment in a state penitentiary for a term of not less than one year nor more than 20 years. If convicted, Barnes would also be disqualified from holding office in the state.
Barnes appeared in Johnston County Court Friday with her counsel, Jason May. The Court filed a bindover order in the matter to include all four counts. Arraignment in the case is set before Judge Wallace Coppedge on Sept. 20, 2018. Court records indicate Barnes waived her right to a formal arraignment within 30 days.