Former Spring Hill Finance Clerk Indicted for Theft After Cyber Attack
An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has resulted in the indictment of Deanna Jones, a former accounts receivable specialist clerk in the City of Spring Hill finance department. The investigation began after finance department officials reported to the Comptroller’s Office that money received by Jones was missing.
On November 3, 2017 the City of Spring Hill suffered a cyber attack that locked its computer servers, preventing the finance department from accessing its software and payment processes. From November 2017 through January 2018, the city only accepted cash and check payments for utility bills, permits, business licenses, court fees, and other types of payments.
The investigation determined that Jones stole at least $1,543.96 from 19 customers that she collected directly from the customers and from the city’s payment drop box. The money should have been submitted for deposit but was kept by Jones.
Jones was confronted with discrepancies between documented transactions and deposits, and she admitted that she stole some money. The City of Spring Hill terminated her employment in February 2018.
It should be noted that Jones repaid the city $798.08; however, a cash shortage of $745.88 still exists.
In September 2019, the Maury County Grand Jury indicted Deanna Jones on one count of theft over $1,000, one count of official misconduct, one count of computer crimes, and one count of destruction/tampering of government records.
“At the time of this theft, several weaknesses existed within the city,” said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson. “Employees were operating out of the same cash drawer, the city did not adequately control access to its offices, and official prenumbered receipts were not being used. I’m pleased to note city leaders are taking steps to address these problems.”
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: www.comptroller.tn.gov/hotline. Follow us on twitter: @TNCOT
Media contact: John Dunn, Director of Communications, 615.401.7755 or email@example.com