by Vivian Jones
A former employee of the Knox County General Sessions Court Clerk’s office has pled guilty to theft of more than $1,000 after an investigation by the Tennessee comptroller’s office.
The comptroller investigation revealed former deputy clerk Steve Harmon stole at least $6,577 from the office between January and October 2019. Harmon was placed on administrative leave in October 2019 and was fired in November 2020.
According to the investigation report, Harmon’s job included collecting court costs and fines assessed by the General Sessions Court. Investigators found that Harmon voided entries for cash payments he received in the offices’ accounting system and re-entered the transactions recording a lesser amount, keeping the cash difference. Harmon occasionally added fees to defendants’ bill costs to increase the total owed, retaining the difference in fees.
Investigators identified at least 120 falsified entries in the office’s records during the 10-month period.
“Careful review and attention must be given before any transaction is voided,” Comptroller Jason Mumpower said. “While voided transactions can be legitimate, they are sometimes used to conceal misappropriation. In this case, supervisors relied on the deputy clerk’s assurance that each void was necessary to correct an error.”
Harmon will repay the funds in restitution as a part of his guilty plea.
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Vivian Jones reports on Tennessee and South Carolina for The Center Square. Her writing has appeared in the Detroit News, The Hill, and publications of The Heartland Institute.