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Comptroller Investigation Finds $3K Cash Shortage at Hardeman Co. Solid Waste Dept

Press release from the office of the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury; February 4, 2015:

An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has revealed a cash shortage of at least $3,062.72 in the Hardeman County Solid Waste Department.

Investigators found that a former employee failed to deposit the money she collected for solid waste fees. The former employee adjusted customer accounts to reflect an amount less than what was actually collected. Additionally, the former employee issued receipts to customers for funds that were never deposited.

The former employee admitted to investigators that “solid waste records show that I may have taken county money for personal usage.”

Comptroller investigators also questioned $9,071.44 in write-offs and adjustments made to customer accounts. These adjustments and write-offs were not supported with any documentation.

These findings have been reviewed with the district attorney general for the Twenty-fifth Judicial District.

Comptroller investigators recommend several changes to improve financial checks and balances within the Solid Waste Department. The changes include improving the oversight of customer accounts, developing written policies and procedures, and separating money-handling responsibilities within the office.

“This case is another example of how insufficient internal controls can lead to the loss of taxpayer money,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “I am pleased to see the county mayor indicate that changes are being made.”

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

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NewsTracker

Hardeman County Trash Fund $1.7m in the Red; Money Stolen from Commissary

Hardeman County‘s solid waste disposal fun had a deficit of almost $1.7 million at the end of the last fiscal year, state auditors found, largely because of the county’s estimated $2.3 million in costs associated with closing a landfill and monitoring it for 30 years, a problem auditors have documented elsewhere in the state.

Auditors also discovered $1,297 was missing from the sheriff’s department commissary fund, and in the course of the office’s inquiry, the commissary bookkeeper confessed to taking the money and was fired. According to the audit, the bookkeeper repaid the funds, but auditors noted weaknesses in documentation that, if fixed, could prevent future theft.

The county erred in not depositing certain contractor payments into an escrow account, auditors found, and the county mayor’s office spent more than the county commission had allotted for its drug control and general funds.