Former Sunnyside Volunteer Fire Dept. Treasurer Indicted for Theft
An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office, working in conjunction with an investigator from the District Attorney General’s Office of the 3rd Judicial District, has resulted in the indictment of Misty Taylor, the former treasurer of the Sunnyside Volunteer Fire Department in Greene County.
Investigators determined that Taylor misappropriated $20,241.67 from the department’s bank account between November 2019 and August 2022. During that period, Taylor made 78 transfers from the department’s bank account to her and her husband’s joint personal bank account. Taylor’s husband served as fire chief for the department; however, these transfers were made without his knowledge. Both Taylor and her husband resigned from their respective positions on September 14, 2022.
Taylor told investigators that she borrowed money from the department with the intention of paying it back. Investigators identified transfers from Taylor’s personal bank account to reimburse the department’s bank account totaling $13,594.05, leaving $6,647.62 still due to the department.
Based upon this investigation, in July 2023, Misty Taylor was indicted by the Greene County Grand Jury for one count of theft over $10,000, but less than $60,000.
The investigative report also includes information that the department approved to pay the monthly personal cell phone bill of Taylor and her family. Although she was expected to reimburse the department, investigators were unable to determine that all reimbursements were made.
The report also notes the Sunnyside VFD failed to comply with state law requiring approval of games of chance.
“Volunteer fire departments should have some basic internal controls in place to safeguard money and other assets,” said Comptroller Jason Mumpower. “These controls should include separating financial duties between multiple people, reviewing and reconciling bank statements, and requiring two signatures on checks.”
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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