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Comptroller Investigation Leads To Ashland City Accounting Clerk Arrest

Press Release from Tennessee State Comptroller, April 11, 2010:

Former Ashland City accounting clerk Lisa Cantrell has been booked on a theft charge following an investigation by the Comptroller’s Division of Municipal Audit.

In a letter released Monday, Dennis Dycus, director of the Division of Municipal Audit, informed Ashland City’s Mayor and Board of Aldermen that between July 1, 2009 and September 30, 2009, Cantrell failed to deposit at least $5,785 in checks and cash collections into the city’s account.

The money should have been deposited into the city’s general and water funds, but Ms. Cantrell falsified city business records and stole the money instead.

The Cheatham County Grand Jury indicted Cantrell last week on a felony theft charge.

“I am glad to see that Ms. Cantrell will be brought to justice in this matter and I commend District Attorney General Dan M. Alsobrooks and his staff for their willingness to take up the prosecution,” Dycus said. “A good way to deter public officials and employees from committing thefts and other crimes while in office is to punish them appropriately and show that no public employee is above the law.”

“Protecting taxpayer funds from waste, fraud and abuse is one of the highest priorities of this office,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “While it is disappointing each time one of these cases comes to light, I am very pleased to have auditors on my staff who are skilled at uncovering this type of activity.”

The letter to city officials also notes that during an interview with state auditors, Cantrell admitted that she had taken money from the city for her own personal use and described what is commonly referred to as a “check-for-cash swap scheme” as her means of accomplishing her crime.

The letter further details that Cantrell also acknowledged using a refund check from Northern Tool to the city of over $2,000 to swap for city cash that she had stolen.

The Comptroller’s report can be found at http://www.comptroller1.state.tn.us/RA_MA/