(Jackson, MS) Hinds County District Attorney Jody E. Owens, II, announced that Hinds County Election Commissioner Toni Johnson pled guilty today to two counts of Embezzlement by a Public Official in violation of Mississippi Code Annotated § 97-11-25 and one count of making False Representations to Defraud the Government in violation of Mississippi Code Annotated § 97-7-10.
Johnson, who represented District 2, served as Chairperson of the Hinds County Election Commission in 2020 and again in 2021, until her resignation as Chairperson following the investigation into suspected fraud. Johnson was indicted on multiple felony charges involving the embezzlement of Hinds County property and the submission of false claims to defraud the Hinds County. The funds and property Johnson misused were intended to keep voters safe during the 2020 election which took place at the height of the pandemic.
Johnson was sentenced to 20 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) with 15 years suspended and 5 years to be served in MDOC’s Intensive Supervised Probation followed by 5 years of post-release supervision. Johnson was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount $24,216.00 to be paid over the course of her probationary period.
“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,” DA Owens said following the plea hearing. “It is sad and disappointing that the funds that Johnson misappropriated were intended to protect Hinds County citizens exercising their rights during the 2020 election.”
Two other individual entered guilty pleas in this scheme late last year and are expected to be sentenced in the coming months. Johnson’s conviction in this matter renders her ineligible to hold elected office or other position of public trust in the State of Mississippi.
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