Former director indicted on 35 felonies

Mary Byrd

Mary Byrd

JONESBORO — Former Clayton County Senior Services Director Mary Louise Byrd was indicted Wednesday on 35 felonies for allegedly stealing more than $16,000 from the programs she oversaw for years.

Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson said Byrd faces up to 520 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Byrd is also accused of taking steps to cover her alleged involvement by shredding documents and bribing one of her employees with $200 to lie when she learned the county planned an internal audit.

The indictment alleges Byrd took checks from various vendors intended for Meals on Wheels, Kinship Care and Senior Services and deposited them into her personal bank account, going back to 2009.

Byrd, 56, of Fayetteville was placed on unpaid administrative leave in July while investigators processed information gathered from the audit. Detectives executed a search warrant at Byrd’s home and at the Senior Services headquarters in Jonesboro.

She was arrested days later after that audit revealed discrepancies. A Magistrate Court judge set a $150,000 bond and Byrd was released.

According to the Clayton County Commission’s website, Byrd had served Clayton County for six years and was previously a health and wellness specialist in the Aging Division of the Atlanta Regional Commission.

She was honored in 2012 with the Beverly Littlefield Award for excellence in program development and operations from the Georgia Department of Human Services Division of Aging Services.

Byrd was lauded for her leadership of Senior Services, the fifth largest department in the county, consisting of six facilities and more than 125 employees.