Audit: Clarksville School System Employee Stole from Taxpayers

A maintenance employee with the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System stole money from the school system, according to an audit Tennessee Comptrollers released Thursday.

That employee, Shay Patterson, stole at least $1,750. Patterson used his school system-issued procurement card to make personal purchases. With that card he bought, among other things, materials for fuel, cigarettes, personal auto insurance, and a driver’s license renewal, according to the audit.

“In addition, Patterson inappropriately used the school system’s government tax-exempt status on his personal purchase of remodeling supplies for a private project,” auditors wrote.

“As noted, he was not charged the required taxes.”

This is the first Comptroller audit to report alleged government theft in 2019.

“The Comptroller’s Office initiated the investigation after officials with the school system reported questionable transactions related to a maintenance employee’s procurement card,” auditors said in a press release.

In May of last year, Patterson paid $1,750 to the school system for personal charges on his school system procurement card, claiming a family member mistakenly used it.

Patterson later admitted to investigators he used his procurement card for personal purchases without the knowledge or the authority of school officials.

“Patterson stated that he used the procurement card as a loan because he was in a temporary financial hardship,” according to the audit.

“He further stated that he knew it was wrong to use the procurement card for personal purchases”

The school system fired Patterson last year, Comptrollers wrote.

The Montgomery County Grand Jury indicted Patterson last month on one count of theft over $1,000 and one count of fraudulent use of a credit or debit card.

As reported, last fall Comptrollers announced they had far fewer city and county audit findings in Fiscal Year 2017 than they did the previous fiscal year.

In Fiscal Year 2016 Comptrollers had 383 audit findings spread across 90 Tennessee counties. FY 2017 had 338 findings, spokesman John Dunn said in November.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Shelby County Courhouse” by Jugarum. CC BY-SA 3.0. 






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