A lack of proper safeguards led to missing money and drugs seized by two anti-crime task forces run by law enforcement officers in Wilson County, an investigation involving the Comptroller’s Division of Local Government Audit has revealed.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) asked the Comptroller’s office to assist in an investigation related to cash, vehicles and other assets seized by the Joint Violent Crimes Task Force (JVCTF) and the Safe Streets Task Force. The Wilson County Sheriff’s Department and the Lebanon Police Department had an agreement in place for their participation in the JVCTF that referenced the FBI’s participation, but the FBI did not sign the agreement. The Wilson County Sheriff’s Department and the FBI operated the Safe Streets task force.
The investigation found that some case files were incomplete or missing, including one involving bags of cocaine that were seized but could not be found.
The investigation also found that more than $25,000 in seized cash could not be accounted for – and almost $9,000 in seized cash was improperly deposited into the police department’s bank account instead of a joint account shared with the sheriff department.
Investigators also determined that vehicles seized by the JVCTF and awarded to Wilson County were not accounted for and disposed of properly.
The Wilson County deputy assigned to head Wilson County’s participation in the JVCTF and Safe Streets Task Force pled guilty to obstruction of official proceeding and was sentenced on April 27 to 18 years in prison.
“This is another case in which better use of accounting checks and balances – what auditors refer to as ‘internal controls’ – could have prevented problems,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “Good accounting and recordkeeping procedures are very important, particularly in cases like this in which money and seized assets are involved. I commend our auditors, as well as the investigators from the TBI and FBI, for their diligent work on this case.”
The audit, which was released today, can be viewed online at: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/la/SpecialReports.asp