NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- An audit conducted by the state Comtroller's Division of Local Government Audit revealed the various schemes an administrative secretary used to steal more than $50,000 from the Morgan Co. Soil Conservation Dist.
The report also blamed the district's board of directors for "fail(ing) to provide adequate oversight." It found that the district did not have safeguards in place which could have detected the thefts sooner.
“It is very important that government entities practice good internal controls in accounting and bookkeeping,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. "As this case clearly illustrates, there can be consequences for governments that don’t have good internal controls.”
The audit claims the administrative secretary, Sharlene Justice, had forged the board chairman's signature on checks and time sheets since at least 2008, writing checks to herself and to family members.
One of the forged checks allegedly forged by Justice was returned due to insufficient funds, the report noted. That reduced the cash shortage to just under $45,000.
The Morgan Co. Grand Jury indicted Justice on a lone count of theft over $10,000 on May 21. She was arrested two days later.