Madison County Health Official Indicted on Theft Charges

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A grand jury has indicted the former Jackson-Madison County Regional Health Department Program Director on one count of theft over $1,000 and one count of official misconduct, according to an audit Tennessee Comptrollers released this week.

“During the period July 1, 2014, through October 1, 2018, Jackson-Madison County Regional Health Department Program Director Rachel Thomas improperly returned various items purchased for the TennCare Kids program,” according to the audit.

“As program director, Thomas was responsible for purchasing materials that would benefit children of the community and handled all purchases and all vendor receipts associated with the program. This allowed her to create an eReceipt after the purchase that she would later use to return the purchased items for cash ($903.61) or gift cards ($429.23) instead of remitting the refunds back to the program.”

The audit went on to say Thomas completed 33 return transactions, which resulted in her receiving $1,332.84 that she kept for personal gain. Thomas returned $149.09 after JMCRHD officials questioned her about her returns. That left an outstanding balance of $1,183.75 owed to JMCRHD from the return transactions.

Thomas lost her job in September of last year, auditors wrote.

“On April 9, 2019, Thomas admitted to investigators that she returned items purchased with funds for the TennCare Kids program without JMCRHD permission, and she did receive personal gain from some of these refund transactions. Thomas stated that she is willing to pay back the money she received from the returns,” according to the audit.

The JMCRHD is a Jackson-based governmental entity with the mission of “Working Toward A Healthy Community,” according to the audit.

The audit said JMCRHD officials are to provide preventive services, health education, and information to reduce disease and promote a healthy lifestyle. Officials provide services on a sliding scale based on the citizen’s level of income.

The JMCRHD receives money from various grants, auditors wrote.

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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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