On Dec. 29, 2020 a report was filed with the Lee County Sheriff’s Department from an area business — the complainant stated a former employee had used a company card to obtain money without the permission of the business.
The complainant was able to provide records of the charges from the past year and a half. Warrants were obtained for Lynsey Vanstory, who was currently living in Tupelo, on charges of embezzlement over $25,000 and credit card fraud.
Her bond was set at $100,000.
Law enforcement, from many northeast Mississippi jurisdictions, hint this will be a lengthy investigation which has just started. Investigators will follow trails, both physical and electronic, and interview all connections to Vanstory.
The divorced single mother of two grew up in Itawamba County.
“It’s my understanding she is currently residing in Tupelo,” said Lee County Sheriff’s Department Chief Investigator Scotty Reedy,” I think she was originally from the Mantachie area.”
In 2017, she was employed in City Of Tupelo and had annual salary of $37,868 according to public records. According to the City of Tupelo she was an “Administrative Executive Secretary.”
On April 30, 2020, Vanstory tweeted “I’ll be waiting on my call from TSUN to offer me a place on their team.” TSUN is for short for “The School Up North,” a nickname Mississippi State University uses to describe The University of Mississippi so they don't have to say “Ole Miss.”
She ended up working for Medpoint Advantage, in Amory, as a compliance officer.
Vanstory quit working there in June 2020.
On August 12, 2020, The Itawamba County Times interviewed Vanstory after she tested positive for COVID-19. In the story it read, the virus caused her “a wealth of physical and mental problems, including a complete loss of feeling in both her hands and feet, cognitive delays and the inability to taste or smell.”
She also said she struggled with daily tasks — “I couldn’t figure out how to change the head on my razor blade. I put the wrong type of soap in the sink to wash the dishes. I tried to fix a cup of Keurig coffee without having a pod in there. Just basic stuff like that was, literally, a thought-out process.
“It’s hard to describe the sensation, Vanstory said. She likened it to tunnel vision, said it was a sudden inability to function correctly. It’s a ‘brain fog,’ she said, and a little like being drunk.”
In December of 2020, Medpoint alleged she used a company credit and, or debit card to purchase money orders. The complaint says 38 transactions totaling more than $28,000 took place at the Mooreville Post Office.
“We’re still working on the time frame. We have issued numerous subpoenas to different financial organizations and are still gathering information from other departments,” Reedy said.
Other allegations have been filed with the Tupelo Police Department, Amory Police Department, Baldwyn Police Department and the Itawamba County Sheriff’s Department.
“She came into possession of certain financial documents which were entrusted to her through her work — to certain access to money,” Reedy said. “It is alleged by her ex-employer that this was not something she was given permission to do. Allegedly this occurred after her employment.”
On Jan. 3, 2021, Vanstory tweeted “We rung in the new year with a ring, Cannot wait to marry my very best friend.”
On Jan. 5, 2021, she turned herself in to law enforcement and was booked into the Lee County Jail.
So could Covid-19 possibly be part of a defense?
“From my experience through the years, alcohol, drugs and things of that nature are not an excuse. Only a doctor could do that kind of assesment,” Reedy said. “But through all this Covid — I’ve known many people who have gotten over it, some that have passed but I do not know anybody that’s had those kind of symptoms.”
“That’s the first time I’ve heard of that being a symptom of Covid. I’ve heard of losing your taste and smell but I have not heard of having a foggy memory, to the point that you committed fraud,” said Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson. “I guess you can blame Covid for anything.”
She has since bonded out on a professional bond. A $100,000 bail bond is usually for a more serious crime, and for a bail bondsman fee to front that kind of money for you would be 10% of the total bail bond. So you would pay the bail bondsman $10,000.
If you have more information related to this case, please call (662) 841-9040.