Does State Investigation Cast Doubt on Former Prison Nurse’s Lawsuit Against County?
By Josh Mitchell
Corinth Today News Editor
The Alcorn County prison doctor was cleared this year in an embezzlement investigation conducted by the state auditor’s office, documents show.
Officials could not comment on whether the lack of evidence found in the state investigation casts serious doubts on allegations made in a lawsuit filed by a former prison nurse.
Andrette Lee Holder, the former prison registered nurse for six years, has filed a lawsuit against Alcorn County and Joshua Davis, who is the warden. Holder seeks compensatory damages for “emotional distress,” back wages and other relief.
The auditor’s office conducted a “thorough” investigation after a complaint alleging embezzlement was made in July of 2017 against prison physician Dr. Matthew Tipton.
The state investigation determined that the embezzlement allegation was unsubstantiated, and the case was closed in March of this year.
“After a thorough investigation, there was not enough evidence to substantiate the allegations,” the letter from the state auditor’s office said.
It was unknown who made the complaint against Tipton, who could not be reached for comment.
Even though state officials found no wrongdoing, Holder has filed a lawsuit alleging “fraud” was “being committed” at the Alcorn County Regional Correctional Facility.
It is unclear if Holder’s lawsuit pertains to the same allegations that were found to be unsubstantiated in the state investigation.
The lawsuit alleges that the prison doctor was turning in timesheets that “reflected a great deal of work which he was not performing.”
According to the lawsuit, Holder told other jail officials in April of 2017 that she could not sign off on the doctor’s timesheets because they were incorrect.
“She felt it was criminal fraud against the government to falsely report time not worked and receive payment for it,” the lawsuit says.
Holder also claims in her lawsuit that management was angered because she was unwilling to “participate in fraud being committed by others at the Alcorn County Regional Correctional Facility.”
As a result, Holder said she was subjected to harassment at work and had to quit because she became a “nervous wreck,” the lawsuit alleges.
Her attorney, Joel Dillard, of Jackson, Miss., could not be reached for comment to say whether the state auditor’s finding of insufficient evidence diminishes the claims made in the lawsuit.
The state auditor’s office investigation was open about seven months and assigned to a special agent. The investigation included conducting interviews, obtaining statements, reviewing financial records, researching documents and conducting “other necessary activities consistent with a civil/criminal investigation,” the auditor’s office letter adds.
Alcorn County officials also could not comment on the matter.
However, Alcorn County Board of Supervisors attorney Bill Davis has said that the lawsuit will be “vigorously defended.” It is filed in Alcorn County Circuit Court.