COPY-Employee embezzlement blamed for Kids Kloset closing - - Jackson, MS

COPY-Employee embezzlement blamed for Kids Kloset closing

Someone associated with the Ridgeland Kids Kloset consignment shop claims embezzlers caused the owner to shut her doors, an action which cost consignment sellers thousands of dollars.

An administrator of the business' Facebook page posted the claim the same day 3 On Your Side looked into the store's abrupt closing.

The post says two former employees of the business embezzled $54,000, a story that's at least partially true.

Madison County District Attorney Michael Guest confirms Samantha Parker and Angela Tait pleaded guilty to taking money from the business.

Tait remains in jail.

The amount Guest said the pair of employees stole doesn't match up to the Facebook claim.

"Total amount that we could show that was taken from Kids Kloset was roughly $30,000. Of that $30,000, about $16,000 was recovered up front," Guest said.

That's important because whoever posted on the business' Facebook page said the embezzling led to tax liens filed against business owner Melanie Yates, even though our investigation uncovered liens that went back four years before the embezzlers' arrests.

"Thirty-one tax liens from various counties; Yazoo County, Madison County, and so, those would be those red flags. Those would be things that I would hope that the State Tax Commission is aware of," Guest said.

"When you're looking in a criminal case, we would need to look to see if there was intent by that taxpayer to defraud the state," said Mississippi Department of Revenue spokesperson Kathy Waterbury.

Waterbury could not speak about specific cases, and did not confirm whether the department was investigating Yates.

She did say tax liens lasting as long as they did with this owner are sometimes indicators of fraud.

"There's a number of badges of fraud that we would look at, and that, obviously, not filing returns, not paying the debt that's due, is obviously one of those badges of intent," Waterbury said.

That Facebook page for the defunct Ridgeland business has since been removed.

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