Former Tennessee State Museum Employee Uses Scheme To Take Thousands

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A new investigative report from the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury reveals that a former administrative services assistant with the Tennessee State Museum took $61,892.04 in taxpayer money. The Comptroller’s Office worked with the chief investigator from the Office of the Tennessee Attorney General to complete its investigation.

In February, investigators began to identify a cash shortage created by the former administrative services assistant. Investigators discovered the employee used a scheme to falsify 26 invoices and submit them for payment to her personal account. The employee used her role as a processor of purchase orders and requisitions to create phony invoices for historical artifacts. The employee admitted to creating the false invoices and submitting them for payment with photocopies of her supervisor’s signature. These payments totaled $49,476.97.

Investigators also discovered the employee used a rental car for 15 months, and billed $12,415.97 to the Tennessee State Museum. The employee admitted she improperly charged the rental fees to the museum after her personal car broke down. Her employment has been terminated.

Investigators determined the administrative services assistant was a convicted felon on parole for a theft of property over $60,000. Museum officials were not aware of her conviction at the time she was hired in April 2011. The former employee was originally hired by Adecco USA in November 2008 to provide temporary and contract employment to other state agencies. The employee disclosed three prior convictions on her Adecco USA application. The Museum Commission is taking steps to require background checks on all future employees.

Investigators recommend the Tennessee State Museum reconcile purchases with inventory records on a monthly basis. Errors can remain undiscovered without proper review.

“The Tennessee State Museum helps preserve, protect and share our state’s fascinating history,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “We must also protect taxpayer dollars to ensure the continued success of this institution.”

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

Anyone who suspects fraud, waste or abuse of public money in Tennessee, should call the Comptroller’s toll-free hotline at 800 232-4343, or file a report online at: www.comptroller.tn.gov/hotline. Follow the Comptroller’s Office on twitter: @TNCOT


PHOTOS: Wes Schultz Snow Pictures

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: COX, KEYOTA SHAREECE 2002 MILNE ST CHATTANOOGA, 37406 30 Chattanooga AGGRAVATED ASSAULT - DOMESTIC GAMBLE, TIMOTHY DANIEL HOMELESS SODDY DAISY, 37384 34 Chattanooga CONTEMPT OF COURT CONTEMPT OF COURT GIL, JUSTIN TYLER 1589 PORTER RD TRENTON, 30752 18 Hamilton County DRIVING ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Has Always Been A Battleground Between Good And Evil

From the thousands slain in nearby Chickamauga Battlefield during the Civil War…  To the launching point of the Cherokee Indian’s Trail of Tears…  To the lunch counter sit-ins led by Howard School students — the only high school student sit-ins in the nation — during the Civil Rights Movement…  To Walter Cronkite calling the polluted Southern industrial town ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our 92-Year-Old Victim

It is with great pride, and far greater relief, that I can report a “caretaker” is far different than a “boyfriend.” A story out of Memphis earlier this week morphed into a virtual fireball that had such power it appeared on the front page on a London newspaper and other news outlets all around the world when it was reported by the Associated Press a 28-year-old man had assaulted ... (click for more)

Baylor Girls Lose In State Basketball Semifinals, 69-61

NASHVILLE -- The third time wasn't the charm for the Baylor Lady Red Raiders. Facing the Brentwood Academy Lady Eagles in the semifinals of the D-II Class AA girls state basketball tournament at Lipscomb University, Baylor came up short for the third time this season against the Lady Eagles by a 69-61 final score. It was a see-saw affair with seven ties and 13 lead changes, ... (click for more)

UTC Men Edge VMI in Double Overtime, 86-82

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.---The Chattanooga Mocs picked up a crucial road win in thrilling fashion, 86-82 in double overtime, at VMI. Chattanooga improves to 21-9, 14-3 in the Southern Conference, while the hosts fall to 11-17, 7-10 in league play. “It wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination,” coach Will Wade said. “Good teams find a way to win, and we found a way to win. These ... (click for more)