Crimetracker: New Market town employees accused of stealing thousands

By: Hilary Magacs Email
By: Hilary Magacs Email

NEW MARKET, Tenn. (WVLT) -- "It kind of astonished me for this small town - that much money," said a man who's lived in New Market for about 30 years. He didn't want to give his name.

He's talking about thousands of dollars stolen from New Market. People working for the town are accused of the crime.

The state Comptroller's office said Melissa Parker - who used to be the town's recorder - stole more than $38,000 from the town's account, converting some of the money into checks made payable to her husband. Investigators said she covered up what she'd done by faking invoices and meeting minutes to show the money was being used to pay for repair work her husband had done on the city vehicles. She told officers she used some of the money to support an unsuccessful business venture.

"It's hard on a little town like New Market. I've lived around here for about 30 years and I'm sure it's going to be hard for them to recoup that money," the man said.

But it doesn't end there. Investigators said Sammy Bailey - a public works employee - used a city fuel card to buy more than $1200 of gas for personal use.

"I'd say the services would have to be cut because they just don't have that much revenue coming in - they don't have any city taxes or anything here," he said.

Investigators said the city lacked proper safeguards, which could have prevented Parker and Bailey from stealing the money. The said the mayor and a town alderman are now required to sign off on all city checks and they'll monitor fuel purchases on a monthly basis.

Parker and Bailey both face theft and official misconduct charges.

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