Report: Government Workers in Tennessee Steal Millions

Tennessee Capital building

Local governments in Tennessee are short more than $3.75 million of taxpayer money they’re supposed to already have in their coffers, according to two new reports from the Tennessee Comptrollers’ Office.

That’s because too many local government employees are stealing the money you worked so hard for — and they’re spending it on themselves, Comptrollers said in two new reports.

The reports detail money that went missing during the most recent fiscal years. 

One report profiled how much money went missing from local county governments — more than $971,000.

Another report detailed cash shortages and other thefts for other local government entities, including internal school funds, utility districts, housing authorities, and nonprofits.

For that, Comptrollers said there was a shortage of more than $2.7 million.

Combined, both reports detail about 50 examples of government waste, fraud, and abuse in Tennessee.

Among only a few of the examples:

• An employee in the Bradley County Mayor’s Office, according to Comptrollers, paid fictitious persons for contracted services. That employee used that money, more than $15,000, for personal gain.

• The Cocke County Office of Clerk and Master had a cash shortage of more than $101,000 due to theft and conversion of office funds.

• The Fayette County Food Service Department supervisor, Comptrollers said, circumvented certain purchasing procedures, resulting in a cash shortage of $142,433. The same supervisor altered the time sheets for a part-time cafeteria worker and caused a cash shortage of more than $35,000.

• The Humphreys County Volunteer Fire Department had a cash shortage of more than $47,000 after the fire chief reportedly used the money to pay for his home satellite system, five personal credit card bills, Apple iTunes purchases and other personal items.

• The bookkeeper for the Lake County Mayor’s Office issued 191 vendor checks totaling $202,344.63 from the county’s General Fund for personal use.

• Two former employees of the Lauderdale County Director of School’s Office continued to receive compensation after their employment was terminated. Devlyn Green, an educational assistant, received additional compensation and benefits of $37,844.32 and Milton Waller, a bus driver, received additional salary and benefits of $4,800.32 resulting in a total cash shortage of $42,644.64, Comptrollers reported.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]

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4 Thoughts to “Report: Government Workers in Tennessee Steal Millions”

  1. […] The Tennessee Star reported last week, federal officials recently penalized Sevier County with a fine of nearly $45,000 for not complying […]

  2. Lee

    Who’s going to jail?

  3. Clifford J. Petersen

    Who is leading the PROSECUTION in these theft cases?

  4. Jose Reva

    Absolutely disgusting. We must find and prosecute them all!