April 2, 2019
Former Mississippi Police Chief Sentenced for Defrauding the Government
On April 2, 2019, Paul “Martin” Blaylock, former police chief of the Town of Ecru, Mississippi, pleaded guilty and was sentenced in Pontotoc County Court, Pontotoc, Mississippi, to 60 months’ incarceration, 12 months’ probation, a $1,000 fine, court fees of $434.50, and $100 in restitution to the State’s victims’ fund.
Prior to sentencing, Blaylock paid the State of Mississippi $59,934.58 to reimburse the funds he obtained through fraud and embezzlement. From that total, the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor (MS OSA) retained $4,974.88 for its investigative costs and reimbursed $54,959.70 to Ecru, including $29,388.77 in National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) grant funds. In addition, a forfeiture order was issued for 75 firearms recovered from Blaylock during this investigation—70 of the firearms had a calculated value of $75,710.
The investigation revealed that between 2011 and 2016 Blaylock was employed by Ecru first as a police officer and later as the police chief. During that time he was the sole participant in a NHTSA overtime grant. Between fiscal years 2014 and 2016, Blaylock claimed he issued 346 tickets in order to obtain overtime payments; however, he actually issued only 74 tickets. During the same period, Blaylock also received 75 firearms as gifts—proceeds of a fraud committed by Gretchin Moody, his codefendant and a former Ecru town clerk. In addition, Moody gave Blaylock paychecks and cash gifts until they were indicted on State charges on September 11, 2017, and Ecru terminated their employment.
This investigation was conducted by DOT-OIG, NHTSA, MS OSA, and the Mississippi Department of Transportation.