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Ex-director of state's marine resources department pleads guilty in corruption case

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BILOXI, Mississippi — A former Mississippi Department of Marine Resources manager pleaded guilty Friday to embezzlement charges.

WLOX-TV reports (http://bit.ly/XnSmTw ) District Attorney Joel Smith said Tina Shumate admitted to signing false documents related to DMR travel on two separate occasions and receiving money for repayment of expenses that were not actually incurred.

Circuit Court Judge Roger T. Clark sentenced Shumate to two years in prison followed by four years of probation. He also ordered her to pay $14,091 in restitution.

Smith said Shumate was taken into custody to immediately begin serving her sentence. "Judge Clark's sentence today provides accountability for the decisions and criminal actions of the defendant," he said.

The Sun Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1rCjs1y ) four charges were dropped in the plea deal.

Shumate told the judge, "I regret this down to my soul."

Federal charges of conspiracy and fraud also are pending against Shumate, who managed the department's coastal resource office.

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