Jackson County Man Allegedly Stole Nearly $50,000 in Taxpayer Money, Audit Says

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Federal authorities have indicted the former executive director of a Jackson County nonprofit for allegedly stealing more than $46,000 and using that money on himself.

This, according to an audit Tennessee Comptrollers released Monday concerning the Community Prevention Coalition of Jackson County. The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provided most of the nonprofit’s funding, Comptrollers wrote.

Nonprofit board members tasked its former executive director, Patrick Martin, with reducing the area’s underage drinking and tobacco use.

Martin allegedly stole at least $46,335 from the coalition between January 2014 and December 2015, according to the audit.

“Approximately seven days after the Comptroller’s investigation began, certain invoices and other financial records were apparently destroyed in a fire while in Martin’s custody,” according to a Comptroller’s press release.

“Because these records were unavailable for examination, there is an extraordinarily high risk that additional coalition funds were misappropriated or misused by Martin.”

According to the audit, Martin’s alleged schemes included:

• Allegedly using coalition funds to reimburse himself for personal purchases, such as hunting supplies, a crossbow, and payment of his personal electric bill.

• Allegedly using coalition funds to reimburse himself for coalition expenses already paid with coalition checks. For example, Martin allegedly paid a coalition electric bill totaling $1,607.28 with a coalition check on April 24, 2014; however, he had already allegedly written himself a check for that exact same amount three weeks earlier with the memo “electric.”

• Martin allegedly used $4,000 of coalition money to purchase a 1987 Ford Mustang that he gave to friend.

• Martin allegedly wrote several coalition checks to himself indicating they were for repayment of coalition loans; however, the proceeds were used for Martin’s own benefit. In one instance, a $7,500 coalition check was used for a $6,400 payment on his personal mortgage. The remaining $1,100 was deposited into his personal bank account.

• Martin allegedly issued himself 10 extra paychecks.

Members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division also participated in the investigation, according to a press release.

In a statement, Tennessee Comptroller Justin Wilson said the nonprofit “had a number of inadequate financial practices that provided an opportunity for fraud.”

The board of directors of the Community Prevention Coalition of Jackson County has since elected to cease operations, 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 chrisbutlerjournalist@gmail.com.
Photo “Patrick Martin” by JCPrevention.

 

 

 

 

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