A special investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has revealed that at least $228,980 was stolen from the South Pittsburg Housing Authority and the South Pittsburg Elderly Housing Authority over a four-year period.
Investigators found that two former employees are responsible for the vast majority of the misappropriation.
Former accounting director Jan Brooks used at least three schemes to steal at least $127,980 from the housing authorities. These schemes included making at least $100,368 in personal purchases on a housing authority credit card. These purchases included hotel stays in Las Vegas, New Orleans, and at a casino in Mississippi.
Jan Brooks also issued as least $25,122 in checks to herself, and issued $2,490 in fraudulent payroll checks to herself.
Former public housing manager Leslie Jackson stole $5,405 from the South Pittsburg Housing Authority. This included a $2,755 trip to Chicago for a conference that Ms. Jackson never attended, and personal purchases on a Lowe’s account totaling at least $2,649. These purchases included lumber and other supplies to build a pavilion next to the swimming pool at her home.
Investigators also discovered that $95,595 in cash collections had been stolen from the two housing authorities. Generally, Ms. Brooks and Ms. Jackson were responsible for collecting cash and making deposits. Both women admitted they were aware that bank deposits had been manipulated.
On June 1, the Marion County Grand Jury indicted Jan Brooks on one count of theft over $60,000 and one count of theft over $10,000. Leslie Jackson was indicted on one count of theft over $1,000.
“The amount of theft in this case is alarming,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “While it’s easy to blame the criminal behavior of two individuals, housing authority officials must also take the necessary steps to shore up a number of issues which allowed these thefts to occur.”
To view the special investigation online, go to: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/ia/.
If anyone suspects fraud, waste or abuse of public money in Tennessee, they should call the Comptroller’s toll-free hotline at 800 232-5454, or file a report online at: www.comptroller.tn.gov/hotline.