An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office, in conjunction with the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Tennessee Department of Revenue, resulted in findings related to the Overton County Clerk.
The investigation reveals that the grievor, working in her capacity as a clerk, altered vehicle titles to inappropriately generate new registrations and titles. She then used these securities to obtain personal bank loans. Key findings from the survey include:
- The clerk changed the title of a 1949 Cadillac to indicate that it had been sold to one of his family members; then changed the date of the sale to indicate that it had been purchased recently. The 1949 Cadillac had been destroyed in a garage fire around the year 2000. The clerk registered the title with the state and used the new false title as collateral to obtain a $15,000 personal bank loan.
- The clerk changed the transaction information on the title of a 1979 Ford. Although this vehicle no longer exists, the clerk registered it with the state and used the new false title as collateral to obtain a loan personal banking of $28,000.
During an interview with Highway Patrol and Revenue investigators, the attendant admitted to altering titles to obtain loans and she stated that she never took possession of the vehicles in question.
The clerk also manipulated and/or avoided paying sales tax by declaring vehicles as gifts, thereby falsifying county and state records. In one case, the clerk sold a vehicle to a mechanic to whom she owed money and allowed it to be registered as a gift to the buyer.
Investigators also found that the clerk misappropriated county property when she removed office furniture, equipment and some flooring from the clerk’s office space. The clerk did not get approval from the Overton County executive. Office furniture and other equipment was loaded onto a trailer and transported to private property.
The results of this investigation have been reported to the District 13 Attorney General’s Office.and Judicial district.
“Public officials should conduct government business with a high level of integrity,” Comptroller Mumpower said. “Falsifying transactions and creating erroneous tax exemptions violate state guidelines and laws. Citizens expect their elected officials to demonstrate personal and professional ethical conduct.
To view the investigation report, go to: https://comptroller.tn.gov/office-functions/investigations/find.html
If you suspect fraud, waste, or abuse of public funds in Tennessee, call the Comptroller’s toll-free hotline at 800.232.5454 or file a report online at: tncot.cc/fraud. Follow us on twitter @TNCOT and Instagram @tncot.
Media Contact: John Dunn, Director of Communications, 615.401.7755 or [email protected]