Money Missing from Local TN Governments a Pricey, Ongoing Problem: State Comptroller

Press Release from the Office of Tennessee Comptroller Justin P. Wilson, May 27, 2015:

Nearly $2 Million in Stolen Public Money Remains Uncollected

Theft and misuse of public money continue to be a concern as outlined in two reports released today by the Tennessee Comptroller’s office.

The 2014 Report of Cash Shortages updates the status of money stolen and missing from Tennessee’s 95 county governments as of June 30, 2014. The report documents money stolen during the 2014 fiscal year, as well as previous fiscal years.

The state’s 95 counties began the last fiscal year with $775,221.12 in cash shortages that had not been recovered. During the year, $675,741.60 worth of new shortages were detected. Counties were able to recover $661,981.49 through restitution payments, insurance claims or other means. That left a net unrecovered shortage of $788,981.23 at the end of the fiscal year.

The Comptroller’s office also released its first report detailing cash shortages and other thefts for Tennessee municipalities, internal school funds, utility districts, housing authorities and other governmental entities. These shortages were reported in fiscal year 2013 and earlier.

Fiscal year 2013 began with $1,640,277 in unrecovered cash shortages. During the year, $4,485,021 in new shortages were detected. A total of $4,932,640 was recovered during the fiscal year, leaving an unrecovered shortage of at least $1,154,633 as of June 30, 2013.

“These reports show why Tennesseans should join our office in helping make government work better,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “I am pleased to note the continuing efforts to recover substantial amounts of public money, but theft remains a problem. I encourage all government leaders to follow auditors’ recommendations and take the necessary steps to prevent fraud, waste and abuse of public money.”

Both reports provide explanations of how the shortages were discovered, methods used to steal the money, corrective steps taken to prevent future thefts and legal actions taken against those responsible.

To view the 2014 Report of Cash Shortages online, click here.

To view the 2013 Municipalities and Other Organizations Report of Cash Shortages online, click here.

If you suspect fraud, waste or abuse of public money in Tennessee, call the Comptroller’s toll-free hotline at (800) 232-5454, or file a report online at: www.comptroller.tn.gov/hotline. Follow us on twitter @TNCOT