Oxford woman enters plea in hospital case

Published 4:40 pm Tuesday, December 20, 2022

An Oxford woman pleaded guilty to embezzlement of more than $72,000 from the Yalobusha General Hospital this week, avoiding prison time and further legal jeopardy if she makes restitution and abides by the terms of probation.

Kate Rotenberry Brown, 40, entered the plea before Circuit Court Judge Jimmy McClure in the Panola County Courthouse at Batesville Thursday afternoon. Rhea Tannehill represented Brown and Steve Jabara presented the matter for the District Attorney’s Office of the 17th Judicial District.

The plea reached between the attorneys and approved by the court is five years of non adjudication, restitution to the hospital in the amount of $72,632.79, payment to the State Auditor’s Office in the amount of $9,550.34, and payment of $100 to the Crime Victim Compensation Fund.

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A $1,000 fine was suspended by the court.

Tannehill provided a statement to the Eagle on Friday on behalf of his client, saying, “This is a terrible situation. Mrs. Brown was acting at the direction of her boss at the time, but she accepts full responsibility for her actions. Mrs. Brown wants to apologize for anyone that may have been affected, and is working to pay all of the money back as soon as possible. She looks forward to putting all of this behind her, and hopes it brings closure to others.”

In the plea the court essentially accepted the guilty plea, but will make no adjudication if Brown makes payment of $1,370 a month, beginning in January, and has no violations of standard Mississippi probation guidelines for five years.

Brown was indicted in Sept., 2021, by a Yalobusha County Grand Jury who found that between Feb. 2018 and Jan. 2020, Brown “did willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously, embezzle, fraudulently secrete, conceal, or convert to her own use the personal property of Yalobusha General Hospital.”

General probation guidelines in Mississippi require defendants to, among other things,

  • Avoid injurious or vicious habits.
  • Conduct themselves honorably, work diligently, or attend school full time.
  • Not have in their possession nor use alcoholic beverages, marijuana, narcotics, or other controlled substances of any kind and not go into, remain about, or frequent places where they are dispensed or sold as a primary sales item or use unlawfully.
  • Not visit gambling places or associate with persons of bad reputation.
  • Notify the Office of the District Attorney of any change of employment or residence during the probationary period.