Money Stolen from Tennessee Counties Increases

Jun 23, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — A Tennessee State Comptroller's report has found that the amount of money stolen from Tennessee counties continues to grow.

The Tennessean reports counties began the last fiscal year with more than $560,000 in unrecovered cash shortages. But here at the end of the fiscal year the losses have jumped to well over $750,000.

The losses would have amounted to more than a million dollars, but the counties were able to recover nearly a quarter-million dollars. Some of that came from restitution payments while some came from insurance claims.

The State Comptroller’s office is urging local governments to follow good accounting practices. Jim Arnett, Director of Local Government Audit, says a single individual should never be allowed to boty accept and disburse funds, but he concedes that may be difficult for the smaller counties.

“You may have a county office that is just a one person operation. It is the county official and that’s the only staff person that’s in the office. So, in those situations it is very difficult for them to implement separation of duties.”

The Comptroller’s report is based on a snapshot taken the end of last June, and drawn from audits of all Tennessee counties.