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

Catoosa County Arrest Report For Jan. 23-29

Click  here  for the Catoosa County arrest report for Jan. 23-29. (click for more)

Corker Cosponsors Bill To Prevent IRS Political Targeting

Senator Bob Corker this week cosponsored S.283, the  Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act of 2015.  The bill, introduced by Senators Jeff Flake (R-Az.) and Pat Roberts (R-Ks.) in the Senate and Representatives Paul Ryan (R-Ws.) and Peter Roskam (R-Il.) in the House of Representatives, would prohibit the Internal Revenue Service from further regulating the ... (click for more)

Shelley Andrews Will Be Missed - And Response

Shelley Andrews was one of the kindest, most thoughtful and most effective laborers in our community.  Her work with the Friends of Moccasin Bend was exemplary.  She listened, she learned and she led with dignity and class. Her brave battle with ovarian cancer was a testament to her positive spirit and commitment to her work on behalf of the people of this region. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Magic Bank Account

As the month of January is almost out the door, I am opening my email today to share a marvelous story that legend has it was printed on piece of paper found in Bear Bryant’s wallet when he died in 1983. While I don’t know that the famed Alabama football coach had this lesson in his wallet, chances are he might have if he’d read it. * * * THE BANK ACCOUNT & RULES Imagine ... (click for more)

Mercer Edges UTC Men in OT 75-72

A free throw. A turnover. The simple bounce of a ball one way or the other. The Chattanooga Mocs just ended up on the losing end of a 75-72 overtime decision at Mercer. The Mocs fall to 14-8, 7- 2 in the Southern Conference, while the Bears improve to 12-10, also 7-2 tied for second a game behind Wofford. Casey Jones had career highs with 24 points and 15 rebounds, while Greg ... (click for more)

Abbott Fuels Late Rally, Sale Creek Trips Whitwell, 68-57

Hayden Abbott, one of several Sale Creek basketball seniors honored between games Thursday night, hit back-to-back 3-pointers to key a fourth-quarter comeback and lead the District 6-A regular season champion Panthers to a stirring 68-57 victory over the gutty Whitwell Tigers. “Hayden hit some big shots that got some momentum going for us, got the crowd back into the game and ... (click for more)