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More Than $3.5 Million in Misused Public Money Remains Uncollected

Tuesday, December 10, 2019 | 09:00am

The Tennessee Comptroller’s Office remains committed to uncovering and tracking the theft and misuse of public money. Two new reports show that local governments continue to be short millions of dollars.

The 2018 Report of Cash Shortages in Tennessee’s 95 county governments updates the amounts of cash shortages and thefts as of June 30, 2018. The report details money that went missing during the 2018 fiscal year, as well as previous fiscal years.

The state’s 95 counties began the 2018 fiscal year with $972,608 in cash shortages that had not been recovered. During the fiscal year, $276,522 worth of new shortages were detected. Counties were able to recover or write-off $179,674 through restitution payments, insurance claims or other means. That left a net unrecovered shortage of $1,069,456 at the end of the fiscal year.

The Comptroller’s office also released its report detailing cash shortages and other thefts for Tennessee municipalities, internal school funds, utility districts, housing authorities, nonprofits, and other governmental entities. These shortages were reported in fiscal year 2017 and earlier.

Fiscal year 2017 began with a cash shortage of $2,783,851. During the year, $985,967 in new shortages were detected. A total of $1,316,145 was recovered or written-off during the fiscal year, leaving an unrecovered shortage of $2,453,673 at fiscal year-end.

Summary of Tennessee’s Cash Shortages Amount
Cash Shortage in Tennessee Counties as of June 30, 2018


Cash Shortage in Other Governmental Entities as of June 30, 2017


Total $3,523,129

“Our Office takes its responsibility to uncover fraud, waste, and abuse seriously,” said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson. “Tennesseans expect their leaders and public officials to take steps to protect public money and property. Our auditors and investigators make frequent recommendations to improve accountability. Following these recommendations will help make government work better.”

Both reports provide explanations of how the shortages were discovered, methods used to steal money, and legal actions taken against those responsible.

To view the 2018 Report of Cash Shortages in county governments online, click here.

To view the 2017 Municipalities and Other Organizations Report of Cash Shortages online, click here.

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: Follow us on twitter @TNCOT

Media contact: John Dunn, Director of Communications, 615.401.7755 or

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