More Than $50,000 Stolen From Morgan County Soil Conservation District

Monday, June 4, 2012

An administrative secretary used a variety of schemes to steal at least $53,412.78 from the Morgan County Soil Conservation District, an investigation by the Comptroller’s Division of Local Government Audit has revealed.

The administrative secretary, Sharlene Justice, forged signatures of the district board’s chairman on checks and timesheets dating back at least to 2008. The administrative secretary wrote checks to herself and to family members.

A portion of the unreceipted cash collected by the administrative secretary was eventually deposited and a forged check written by Ms. Justice was returned by the bank due to insufficient funds.  This reduced the cash shortage to $44,727.08.

The report noted that the soil district’s board of directors failed to provide adequate oversight over the district’s operations and that safeguards that might have detected the thefts sooner were lacking.

For example, auditors noted that Ms. Justice was responsible for all aspects of financial transactions, which meant no one on the district staff double checked her work. Also, the district issued only generic receipts, which made it difficult to determine if office funds were being properly receipted and deposited. The lack of oversight was further illustrated when the chairman of the board advised that his signature had been forged on checks and timesheets since at least 2008.

“It is very important that government entities practice good internal controls in accounting and bookkeeping,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “Internal controls are basically a set of checks and balances that help make sure that public dollars aren’t subject to fraud, waste or abuse. As this case clearly illustrates, there can be consequences for governments that don’t have good internal controls.”

The findings of the report, which was released Monday, were forwarded to the local district attorney’s office.

On May 21, the Morgan County Grand Jury indicted Ms. Justice on one count of theft over $10,000. On May 23, she was arrested by officers from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

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


Dalton Police And Fire Departments Promote Officers To 2nd-In-Command

Tuesday morning’s meeting of the Dalton Public Safety Commission saw the retirement of a longtime police officer, the confirmation of two new ones, and eight promotions. Those promotions were highlighted by unanimous votes confirming the appointment of officers to the position of second-in-command at both the Dalton Police Department and Dalton Fire Department. Cliff Cason was ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report for Hamilton County: ALHASSAN, ALI  8770 LU LANE OOLTEWAH, 37363  Age at Arrest: 25 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga Booked for Previous Charges or Other Reason(s) --- BAILEY, WILLIE DESHUN  2717 ROSSVILLE BLVD APT. 206 CHATTANOOGA, 37407  Age at Arrest: 32 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga ... (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: Who Is This Barbarian?

The Tennessee Supreme Court upheld a curious decision on what defines a “whistleblower” last month, saying you can’t blow the whistle on your employer if he’s the only one who hears the whistle. No, you’ve got to go to someone other than the perpetrator which not only makes sense, but appears to heighten one’s chance of success. What is much more curious is why somebody didn’t ... (click for more)

Soddy Daisy Softball Rally Thumps Baylor, 10-3

The Soddy Daisy Lady Trojans felt right at home Monday afternoon at Baylor. These two softball teams are annually among the best in the state and they've had some memorable games in years past, but Monday's game was all Soddy Daisy. Baylor scored three runs in the bottom of the second inning before the Lady Trojans sent 11 hitters to the plate in the third where they scored ... (click for more)

Rob Riddle Named Golf Coach At McCallie

Rob Riddle, a golf professional with nearly 25 years of experience in the golf industry, has been named head golf coach at The McCallie School. Riddle served as the varsity and middle school golf coach at Girls Preparatory School in 2013 and 2014 and was the McCallie varsity assistant in 2014. Last year’s head coach John Green is remaining with the program as the assistant. ... (click for more)