Former City of Gleason and Martin Employees Indicted by Grand Jury
The Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has completed an investigation resulting in a six-count indictment against former Gleason City Recorder Angela Hunt. Investigators revealed she misappropriated at least $12,127.53 from the Town of Gleason and the Weakley County Municipal Electric System (WCMES).
The investigation began after town officials identified and reported questionable activity in utility accounts to the Comptroller’s Office.
Investigators determined that Hunt stole $8,101.80 from the town and WCMES by failing to deposit money and not recording some cash payments that she received from customers.
Furthermore, Hunt improperly received a total of $4,025.73 in water, sewer, and garbage services by not paying her personal utility bill in a timely manner. Hunt’s personal utility account carried a past due balance for 55 of the 68 months analyzed. The town’s policy states that customers who have not paid their bill by the 3rd of each month should have their service cutoff on the 11th of each month.
Hunt had access to the town’s utility accounting software and the authority to remove names from the service cutoff list. This allowed her to remove her name from the monthly cutoff list and conceal that she was not paying her personal utility bill.
After officials discovered Hunt’s past due account in March 2019, she made three payments totaling $537 to pay her balance in full.
Angela Hunt voluntarily resigned her employment with the town on December 28, 2020. In September 2021, the Weakley County Grand Jury indicted Angela McElhiney Hunt on two counts of theft over $2,500, one count of theft of services, and three counts of official misconduct.
The investigation further revealed that the Town of Gleason paid employees at least $15,444 in questionable annual leave compensation. This occurred because town employees were allowed to accrue leave balances in excess of the town’s policy.
“Our investigation discovered a number of oversight and policy weaknesses within the Town of Gleason,” said Comptroller Jason Mumpower. “A few of these deficiencies include: policies were not followed; bank statements were not reconciled; money was not deposited within three days of collection; time sheet records did not match with payroll records; and the town’s credit card policy is inadequate.”
Other news from the Tennessee Comptroller officer leads to a Grand Jury indictment of a City of Martin Public Works employee.
The Assistant Director of the City of Martin’s Public Works Department has been indicted for theft after Tennessee Comptroller investigators determined he used the department’s credit card to make personal purchases totaling $5,465.26.
Assistant Director John Worrell made the purchases between March 2017 and November 2019. The purchases included a variety of items from Amazon including a curling iron, home upgrade and renovation items, children’s toys, and clothing. Worrell also used the department credit card to pay his monthly Verizon
Wireless cellphone bill and purchase various cellphone equipment and electronic devices.
The investigation began after Martin officials reported improper use of a credit card to the Comptroller’s Office. The City of Martin also performed its own internal review and identified $3,657.61 in unauthorized purchases made by Worrell. Worrell repaid this amount to the city; however, $1,807.65 remains outstanding.
Comptroller investigators have also questioned an additional $3,951.61 in public works credit card purchases. These purchases were not adequately documented, and investigators could not conclusively determine who made the purchases, or if they were exclusively for the benefit of the department.
In September 2021, the Weakley County Grand Jury indicted John Randolph Worrell on one count of theft over $2,500, one count of fraudulent use of a credit card, and one count of official misconduct.
“We frequently see fraudulent activity associated with credit cards,” said Comptroller Jason Mumpower. “The City of Martin should have taken more steps to review credit card purchases including establishing a formal approval process, confirming that all items were received, and having someone outside the public works department review and reconcile credit card statements.”
To view the investigative report, go to: https://comptroller.tn.gov/office-functions/investigations/find.html If you suspect fraud, waste, or abuse of public money 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