Members of the Dickson County Sheriff’s Office lost $2,000, according to an audit Tennessee Comptrollers recently released.
The sheriff’s office collects various payments and fees, including child support payments.
“On June 13, 2017, the Sheriff’s Office was contacted by a child support attorney with the Twenty- third Judicial District inquiring why a $2,000 child support payment that was made by an inmate at the jail had never been submitted to the State of Tennessee,” Comptrollers wrote.
“Upon investigation, department personnel determined $2,000 in cash was receipted in the jail on May 9, 2016. The cash was signed-out to be delivered to the sheriff’s administrative office for deposit into the bank; however, the payment was never received by the administrative office. On July 21, 2017, a $2,000 check was issued from the county’s General Fund to replace the $2,000 child support payment of the former inmate. As of the date of this report, the $2,000 shortage has not been recovered, nor have any criminal charges been filed.”
Department personnel learned of the shortage on June 13, 2017. They did not file a Fraud Reporting Form with the Comptroller’s Office until May 21, 2018 and that went against state law, the audit said.
In a written response, Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe said an in-house investigation began immediately. Members of the 23rd Judicial District Attorney’s Office also examined whether fraudulent or unlawful activity occurred.
“The DCSO also sought advice from the State Comptroller’s Office during the investigation; and complied with the State Comptroller’s Office suggestion to file a fraud report while the investigation was ongoing. It should be noted the D.A.’s office investigator interviewed and administered polygraph tests to employees who had access to the funds in question and all passed,” Bledsoe wrote.
“It should also be noted the D.A.’s office investigator could not determine what had happened to the funds, and concluded their investigation stating in their report dated February 16, 2019, they found, ‘Insufficient evidence to present the case to the Grand Jury of Dickson County.’”
Bledsoe went on to say “the DCSO believes the jail employee responsible for signing out the funds should be held accountable and is filing papers with Dickson County General Sessions Court seeking restitution in the amount of $2,000.”
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Dickson County Sheriff Patrol Car” by Dickson County Sheriff’s Office.