Since 2016, Tennessee Comptroller investigators have identified nearly $22 million in fraud, waste, and abuse in Tennessee governments and other entities that receive public funds.
Locally, that includes $46,882 in questionable purchases from McMinnville Water and Wastewater Department from a company with close ties to the employee doing the purchasing. The employee was terminated in June 2016.
“We believe that publicizing our investigative reports helps entities correct weaknesses that could lead to fraudulent activity,” said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson. “Media attention and criminal prosecutions also serve as a deterrent for anyone thinking about stealing public funds.”
The Comptroller’s local investigation found the McMinnville Water Department employee greatly increased his purchasing of a cleaning agent from a vendor with whom he had a personal relationship. The purchases soared from $7,553 a year to $27,420 a year with no explanation as to why to utility needed nearly four times the amount of the cleaning agent as it previously used.
“Officials should not engage in any action, whether specifically prohibited by statute, regulation, or policy, which might result in or create the appearance of private gain, preferential treatment, or impeding government efficiency,” the Comptroller’s investigation said.
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: www.comptroller.tn.gov/hotline.
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