Audit: Tennessee Woman Stole $22,000 from Federal Taxpayers

Brookwood Terrace
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A Tennessee woman who managed a government-funded apartment complex stole more than $22,000 from taxpayers, according to a state audit released Thursday.

Pamela Byrd, the former office manager of the Brookwood Terrace Apartments in Wartburg, stole at least $22,036, Tennessee Comptrollers said.

The Brookwood Terrace Apartments is a 24-unit complex and is part of the Douglas-Cherokee Economic Authority.

The apartment complex houses people age 60 and over. A combination of state grants and money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development help fund it, according to the audit.

The Tennessee Star called Byrd Thursday at her listed home telephone number.

A woman picked up, but she said she wasn’t Byrd.

“I’m not her, but what do you want with her?” the unidentified woman asked.

The Star explained it wanted Byrd’s side of this story.

The woman hung up.

Comptrollers said they reviewed the apartments’ accounting records, bank statements and other documents put out between October 2012 and July of last year. They said there was a cash shortage of at least $22,036. Specifically, there was a shortage of $21,520 in rental payments plus $516 in security deposits.

“For the period reviewed, DCEA officials were unable to account for rental payments from some tenants, which had been paid by the tenants, but not deposited into the office bank account,” Comptrollers wrote.

“In some instances, the office manager issued receipts to the tenants for security deposits and rental payments on either a handwritten piece of paper or a marked over receipt that the office manager previously gave to another tenant. The tenants told investigators they paid their rent each month in cash to the office manager.”

Byrd, who has since resigned, refused to meet with investigators, Comptrollers said.

Last month Byrd pled to an information of one count of theft between $10,000 and $60,000. She also reimbursed the Brookwood Terrace Apartments $22,036 as part of her plea agreement, the audit said.

Comptrollers blasted the DCEA for not overseeing Byrd’s work and for not reconciling rental payments received with the actual number of apartments occupied.

“Also, in some instances, our investigation revealed delays in depositing collections into the office bank account,” the audit said.

“Office records reflected that as many as 13 days lapsed between the date some funds were collected and the date these funds were deposited.”

When contacted Thursday, DCEA Executive Director Kay Hale had little to say.

“We found it. We reported it. We did everything we were supposed to do,” Hale said.

“We will address each one of the recommendations we were given, and we have already addressed them.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to chrisbutlerjournalist@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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