Former South Central HRA Employee and Three Others Indicted$117,024 in Grant Funds Misappropriated
The Comptroller’s Office has released an investigative report detailing a scheme led by former South Central Human Resource Agency (SCHRA) employee and program manager Jennifer Henry. The SCHRA’s main office is in Fayetteville.
Henry enabled her son, Kani Johnson, Makayla Leake, and Dustin Simmons to misappropriate $117,024 in Labor and Workforce Development grant funds while participating in the Work Experience program, which provides pay to eligible participants with employability struggles.
Investigators found that Henry aided the three individuals in representing that they were gainfully employed when they were not. It also appeared that Henry fabricated timesheets for the three individuals and directed a Career Service Provider (CSP) in Bedford County to sign and approve their timesheets. All three were paid through the SCHRA’s payroll system.
Jennifer Henry’s employment with the SCHRA was terminated on November 23, 2021.
Based upon this investigation, in May 2023, the Lincoln County Grand Jury indicted Jennifer Henry on eight separate counts; Kani Johnson on six separate counts; Makayla Leake on six separate counts; and Dustin Simmons on six separate counts. For a full list of the 26 total counts, please view the investigative report.
“When Henry directed the Career Service Provider to approve timesheets without verification, it caused a significant breakdown in internal controls,” said Comptroller Jason Mumpower. “The CSP’s role is to contact worksites, correspond with worksite supervisors, and visit worksites as needed. This did not occur in this case, which allowed the scheme to go undetected.”
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.
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