Comptroller Investigation Finds Hamblen Co. Solid Waste Director Stole More Than $225K

Press release from the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury; March 5, 2015:

A special investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury has revealed the former director of the Hamblen County/Morristown Solid Waste System stole at least $227,972 in system funds. Ronald Brady admitted to Comptroller investigators that he used the money for his personal benefit. This investigation was completed in conjunction with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Investigators discovered Mr. Brady took system funds over a 3 ½ year period using several schemes. Mr. Brady issued unauthorized checks to himself totaling at least $196,206 from the solid waste system bank account and used the money for his personal benefit.

Mr. Brady also used the solid waste system’s American Express card to charge at least $31,785 in personal purchases. These purchases included vacations to Walt Disney World and other resorts, servicing his BMW and GMC Yukon, and a mattress that Mr. Brady requested to be delivered to his home. The charges were paid through the solid waste system’s bank account. Comptroller investigators also found Mr. Brady used solid waste system funds to make payments totaling $3,801 on a non-system credit card.

Mr. Brady destroyed, discarded, or altered solid waste system records to conceal his schemes. He was able to take the money without the knowledge or authorization of the solid waste system’s board. Ronald Brady resigned as director in February 2014.

On March 2, 2015, Ronald Brady was indicted by the Hamblen County Grand Jury on one count of theft over $60,000.

Comptroller investigators recommend the solid waste system implement checks and balances to ensure that one employee does not have complete control over a financial transaction from beginning to end. A credit card policy should also be established that allows all charges to be reviewed and documented.

“Solid waste customers make sacrifices each time they pay their bills,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “They must have confidence their dollars are being used appropriately, and it is shameful that a director would steal this money for his own gain.”

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