Former drug 'kingpin' taken into custody in Hinds County election fraud case – WLBT

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – A third person has been taken into custody in the Hinds County election fraud case.
Hinds County authorities confirm that Sudie Jones-Teague had been booked at the Hinds County Detention Center in Raymond Tuesday.
Agents from the Mississippi State Auditor’s Office took Jones-Teague into custody Tuesday. Agents also delivered a demand letter to Jones-Teague showing that she owed nearly $150,000 to Hinds County taxpayers, an amount that includes the office’s costs for investigating the case.
“We are committed to putting a stop to fraud like this,” Auditor Shad White said. “If you have information on this case or any others, please call the auditor’s office at 1-800-321-1275.”
Last week, investigators with the Mississippi State Auditor’s Office arrested District 2 Election Commissioner Toni Johnson and Clinton businessman Cedric Cornelius on related charges.
Jones-Teague’s company, New Beginnings LLC, allegedly received $118,000 in elections grant money to provide cleaning and disinfectant services to the election commission headquarters, circuit clerk’s office, and voting precincts in 2020.
The grant was provided to the county by the Center for Tech and Civic Life and was supposed to ensure safe elections during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The nonprofit group, which was funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, gave over $350 million to election offices across the country in 2020.
Funds from the COVID-19 Response Grant Program could be used for protecting Election Day administrators, expanding voter education and outreach, recruiting and training poll workers, and supporting in-person voting and vote by mail efforts, CTCL’s website states.
Thirty-four counties in Mississippi received funding from the group in 2020.
Grant money aside, New Beginnings LLC also received $4,200 in county taxpayer money to provide training luncheons to new commissioners.
In both cases, the work paid for was never done. Meanwhile, the auditor raised questions on whether New Beginnings should have been brought on for the work in the first place.
White pointed out that New Beginnings is registered as a “hair and fashion” company by the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office.
A business filing from February 2022 lists the business as a cosmetics, beauty supply and perfume store.
Combined, Jones-Teague, Johnson, and Cornelius must return $325,000 to the state. If convicted, the trio could also face many years in jail.
Jones-Teague was sentenced to five years in prison in 1994 after she pleaded guilty to a charge of laundering drug money.
According to the Clarion-Ledger, at the time, the Jackson Police described Jones-Teague as “one of Jackson’s top drug kingpins.”
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