West Tennessee Town Falls Victim To Identity Theft

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Identity theft is a problem for many individuals, but even cities can fall victim. The West Tennessee town of Henning learned that when someone tried to use two counterfeit checks issued in the town’s name last year.

The banks refused to honor those checks, but the town did lose $25,500 when another check was stolen and the amount and name of the payee were altered. Those were among the findings of an audit released by the Comptroller’s Division of Investigations today.

The mayor of Henning initially told auditors that the stolen check was lost at a store in Covington. However, an investigation revealed that the check - written in the amount of $187.65 - was actually sent to a vendor in Dallas to cover a legitimate expense.

That check was intercepted and altered to reflect a payment of $25,500 payable to “Cheveze Pippins.” The check was then deposited into a Houston bank account last year. Several months later, unsuccessful attempts were made to transact the two counterfeit checks in the town’s name at banks in Louisiana and Texas.

Auditors noted that the town should have taken action promptly to stop payment on the stolen check when it was determined that the vendor had not received it.

“This case illustrates the importance of proper record-keeping,” said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson. “Adequate safeguards need to be in place so lost or stolen checks are quickly detected and appropriately handled.”

The audit also found that the town failed to adequately document some transactions, pre-signed some blank checks and improperly handled vehicles confiscated by police.

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


Tennessee's Unemployment Rate For August Increased To 7.4%

Tennessee Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips announced the Tennessee preliminary unemployment rate for August was 7.4 percent, three tenths of one percentage point higher than the 7.1 July revised rate. The U.S. preliminary rate for August was 6.1 percent, down from 6.2 percent in July. Economic Summary • Over the past year, Tennessee's unemployment ... (click for more)

Tennessee American Water Announces Fall Drug-Take Back Day In Hamilton County

In partnership with several organizations, Tennessee American Water announces the fall  2014 Drug Take-Back event on Saturday, Sept. 27 from 10 a.m.–2 p.m.  "The purpose of this event is to keep drugs out of the environment and off of our streets," officials said.  Local residents are encouraged to simply drive up and drop off their unused, unwanted or expired medications ... (click for more)

EPB Officials Huddle With Attorneys Over City Street Lighting Issue

EPB board members huddled with attorneys on the issue of billing for city street lights on Friday morning. EPB Chairman Joe Ferguson asked for the private session with attorneys Rick Hitchcock and Tom Greenholtz of Chambliss Bahner. Don Lepard, owner of Global Green Lighting, earlier filed a $10 million "whistle blower" lawsuit, claiming overbilling by EPB on street lighting. ... (click for more)

City Council Taking Applications From Those Interested In Serving On City IDB

The City Council is taking applications from those interested in serving on the city industrial Development Board (IDB).   There are four vacancies on the board that has been in the news for its controversial approval and re-approval of $9 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for developers of Aetna Mountain. Resumes are due by Sept. 29.   ... (click for more)

Walking Among Memories, The USS LST-325

I have walked among the head stones at Flanders Fields and have seen the entrenchment of soldiers with only bayonet tips sticking out of the earth. Later I traveled to Normandy where I stood on the sand and made scuff marks with my shoes on Omaha Beach and climbed the hill to the magnificent American Cemetery there. I again walked among the many, many tomb stones so neatly and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Troubling Jameis Winston

One of the greatest things about the American legal system is that each and every crime is judged on its own merits. Just because Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer and Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy were each arrested for domestic abuse earlier this week, each National Football League football hero will be given an independent hearing and trial, if need be, ... (click for more)