2 plead guilty to fraud charges
by Chance Wright
Dec 14, 2012 | 4082 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Earlier this week Harvey Jackson and the Rev. Jack King pled guilty to numerous charges of fraud for their role in a scheme involving two others with monetary figures over $200,000.

Jackson, a current member of the Cleveland School District Board of Trustees, and King, with advice from their legal council, entered guilty pleas before Circuit Court Judge Charles Webster in Bolivar County Second Judicial District Court.

Jackson pled guilty to one count of general fraud and 18 counts of false pretense.

King pled guilty to one count of general fraud and one count of false pretense.

It is unclear at this time what ramifications, if any; Jackson's guilty plea will have on his position with the Cleveland School District's Board of Trustees.

By entering into a plea agreement with the Mississippi Attorney General's Office, Jackson and King could avoid hard time by successfully completing the Pre-Trial Diversion Program.

"The Pre-Trial Diversion Program is similar to probation," explained Bolivar County District Attorney Brenda Mitchell. "The major difference is that the guilty parties report to the district attorney's office once a month instead of meeting with a Mississippi Department of Correction's probationary officer.

However, just as with probation, the guilty parties must meet the requirements of the program and pay all fees, including court costs."

The term of the program is three years.

According to Jan Schaeffer, public information officer for the AG's Office, "the Pre-Trial Diversion Program allows first-time, non-violent offenders an opportunity to not have a criminal record if they successfully complete numerous goal-oriented conditions. This diversion results in benefits to the participant, the community, the prosecutor, the courts and the jails by reducing the costs on our court system and lowering the rate of return offenders."

As part of their plea agreements, both Jackson and King are ordered to pay restitution to both victims in the matter.

The men are guilty of taking investor money for Lampton Street Church of Financial Services under the guise the money would be invested. According to the original indictment, Lampton Street Church of Financial Services did not exist.

"Mississippians need to have confidence where they invest their hard earned dollars," said Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. "Jackson and King, on behalf of themselves and this entity, made false statements to encourage people to invest their money with this organization. They also misled investors regarding the safety of the offered investments. This type of action will not be tolerated in Mississippi."

Conditions to be accepted into the Pre-Trial Diversion Program include: the offender is 18 years of age or older; there is substantial likelihood that justice will be served if the offender is placed in an intervention program, it is determined that the needs of the offender and the state can better be met outside the traditional criminal justice process, it is apparent that the offender poses no threat to the community; the offender is likely to respond quickly to rehabilitative treatment; the offender has no significant history of prior delinquency or criminal activity; the offender has been indicted and is represented by an attorney, and the court has determined that the office of the district attorney or the department of corrections has sufficient support staff to administer such intervention programs.