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

Community Foundation Of Greater Chattanooga Names Maeghan Jones New President

The Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga (CFGC) has named Maeghan Jones as the foundation’s new president. Ms. Jones, who has been serving as president of the Chattanooga Area Food Bank, will succeed retiring President Pete Cooper on  Jan. 1, 2016 . The appointment comes following a nationwide search. “Maeghan not only has the intelligence and organizational capability ... (click for more)

Ex-Chattanooga Marine Blasts Obama In YouTube Video That Goes Viral

Chattanooga Strong

The hearts, minds and prayers of Tennesseans, and of the entire nation, have been turned toward Chattanooga this month.  We are sickened and saddened by the senseless tragedy, and we grieve for the families of the five service members who were killed, Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan, Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist, Lance Cpl. Squire “Skip” K. Wells, Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Chanie's Puzzling Poem

Ronnie Joice was in a bar in north London when he spied a poem tacked to the wall. The more he studied it, the more it revealed and, suddenly, he was floored. I don’t need to tell you it has gone viral, cheering people up particularly in England, but it is fun to know it was written by an 11 th -grader at an all-girls school in New York. Chanie Gorkin first posted it on her page ... (click for more)

2015 High School Football Tour Recap

  High School football officially began Monday as prep teams throughout the state donned helmets and pads for the first time with the season opening weekend 24 days away.   The sixth annual chattannogan.com tour of Hamilton County schools began with Howard just before 7 a.m. and ended at Silverdale a few minutes before 10 p.m. – 13 schools and 173 miles. ... (click for more)

Three Marion Players On 2A Preseason All-State Team

Marion County's Corey Tucker, Christian Stephens and Alex Kirkendoll have been voted to the Star Physical Therapy Class 2A preseason all-state team in Murphy Fair's Tennessee High School Football magazine. Other area players on the team are Tellico Plains' Ryan Bookout, Boyd-Buchanan's Eli Legg and Sweetwater's Bailey Byrum.  Marion County finished as state runner-up ... (click for more)