Henry County Bookkeeper Took Nearly $30,000 In Public Funds, Probe Finds

Friday, December 21, 2012

A bookkeeper for the Henry County General Sessions Court Clerk improperly took almost $30,000 in court funds for personal use over a five-year period, an audit by the Comptroller’s Division of Local Government Audit has revealed. 

Auditors were alerted to the potential problem after General Sessions Court Clerk Mike Wilson reported that some funds that were received in his office by mail were not recorded by the bookkeeper.

That prompted a wider look at the bookkeeper’s practices dating from Jan. 1, 2007 through Aug. 22, 2011. Auditors concluded that the bookkeeper pocketed cash paid to the office for court fines, costs and fees, then substituted checks received from other transactions that had not been recorded to reconcile the office’s records. 

The bookkeeper was fired and the auditors’ findings have been shared with the local district attorney’s office. 

Auditors said the bookkeeper had been allowed to manage all aspects of those fee collections, from the receipt of funds to the deposit and recording of them, which was a contributing factor that allowed the misappropriation of money to continue for such a long time.

Good accounting practices call for multiple employees to share money-handling responsibilities to reduce the opportunities for one individual to steal funds, officials said.

The audit also found that the offices of the county register and sheriff also had similar problems with failure to adequately separate money-handling responsibilities, although no funds were unaccounted for in those offices. 

"The lack of proper segregation of duties is a common problem in local governments across Tennessee, but it is also one that creates the potential for serious fraud to occur,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “Having more than one employee involved in processing financial transactions sets up a system of checks and balances – what our auditors refer to as ‘internal controls’ – that can prevent the theft of public funds. I encourage other local governments to learn from what happened in Henry County and take appropriate corrective action.”

Among other recommendations, auditors also suggested that Henry County centralize its accounting, budgeting and purchasing operations and set up its own audit committee to review the financial reporting process, internal controls, the audit function and other best practices in financial management.

To view the full report online, go to: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/la/SpecialReports.asp

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: BAILEY, BLAKE AARON  206 TUNNELL BLVD CHATTANOOGA, 37411  Age at Arrest: 24 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County VEHICULAR ASSAULT --- BARROW, JALAYCIAN  2709 CITICO AVENUE APT W1 CHATTANOOGA, 37404  Age at Arrest: 18 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DOMESTIC ASSAULT ... (click for more)

Police Blotter: Shots Fired On Mallette Road; Pit Bull Missing

Police said shots were fired on Mallette Road, and a pit bull is missing. Janice Pritchett said she heard 2-3 gunshots. Her neighbor, Ronald Smith, said he fired three shots after Ms. Pritchett's black pit bull came after him. He said the dog approached him barking and growling on his front porch. He said he frantically reached inside the front door to get his Cobra ... (click for more)

The Heart Of A Teacher Makes A Difference - And Response (2)

In less than four weeks, I expect to be one of 216 graduating seniors from East Hamilton School. One could say all possible variables help a student rise to the highest levels in school; but a student is more than his environment or genetic code. He is a mixture of his own propensity and dedication to academics, coupled with a systemic team of mentors who give their all as a student’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: FBI To Study ‘Lickers’

About 25 years ago there was a terrifying movie called “The Silence of the Lambs.” It was so good it won the Academy Awards in all five categories – Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Adapted Screenplay. Further, Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster were brilliant, but do you remember the third “star?” Scott Glenn played a character named “Jack Crawford,” the ... (click for more)

Orange (Defense) Rallies To Beat White (Offense), 54-44

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.  –  The White-clad offense put on a show in Tennessee’s spring football game on Saturday afternoon, but it was the Orange-shirted defense that took home the victory, 54-44, in front of an announced crowd of 63,016 at Neyland Stadium. Coach Butch Jones was impressed with the Vols' collective performance on Saturday compared to two years ago. ... (click for more)

Siblings Shine For East Hamilton Tennis

For East Hamilton tennis, it’s the new millennium’s version of the late 1970s TV sitcom “Eight is Enough” or the movie “Yours, Mine and Ours”. Three sets of siblings are represented on coach Michael Jackson’s teams from 1-7 in singles and all played and won  Friday  in district matches with Bradley Central. With no seniors on either team and both squads looking ... (click for more)