The former technology director for the Crockett County School Department used taxpayer money to buy electronic equipment for either his own personal use or to sell for profit, according to a new state audit.
Because of this, the school system had a cash shortage of more than $114,000, Tennessee Comptrollers said in a press release.
Grand jurors indicted the accused man, Michael Maness, last week on one count of theft over $60,000 and four counts of official misconduct, the press release went on to say.
Investigators said they found multiple improprieties.
Maness, for instance, used school district funds to purchase 267 Samsung solid state drives for $78,097.29, according to the audit.
“He sold 265 of the SSDs mostly using online websites at discounted prices for personal gain. These hard drives had storage capacities of 500GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB, and were purchased strictly for resale by Mr. Maness,” Comptrollers wrote in their audit.
“According to the current technology director, Mr. Keith Eason, these SSDs were not installed on any computers in the school district and served no useful purpose for the district.”
Comptrollers said they confirmed some of what Maness allegedly did by contacting eBay, according to their report.
Maness also allegedly did the following, among other things, according to Comptrollers:
• Assembled two computer towers for gaming with school district funds and sold these computers to online buyers for personal gain. The total cost to the school district was $4,233.57.
• Assembled a gaming computer for personal use at his home from components he purchased with school district funds at a cost of $4,411.97.
• Purchased 19 Graphic Processing Units with school district funds for $11,089.85.
• Purchased two MSI laptops with school district funds that he used strictly for personal gaming at a cost of $3,498.
Michael Maness resigned from his position last year, the press release said.
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Crockett County Courthouse” by Brian Stansberry. CC BY 4.0.