published Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Former Winchester, Tenn., finance director took court fees, drug bust money, audit finds

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A former Winchester, Tenn., finance director accused of stealing more than $150,000 from the city took checks written for court fines and thousands of dollars in cash from drug arrests, according to the Tennessee Comptroller’s Division of Municipal Audit.

Investigators with the comptroller’s office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation found that Mary Faye Morrow took many checks written to the city from the county court clerk for General Sessions and Circuit Court fines and fees to a nearby bank where she converted them into cashier’s checks and cash, according to Blake Fontenay, spokesman for the comptroller’s office.

Investigators found that during a six-and-a-half year period — ending when Morrow retired in December 2010 — she had misappropriated more than $133,000 in checks from court fines and fees, Fontenay said.

Investigators also discovered more than $19,000 in cash seized from narcotics arrests was turned directly over to Morrow but never deposited into the city’s bank account.

In a letter to city officials released today, Dennis Dycus, director of the Comptroller’s Division of Municipal Audit, noted that the cash never was deposited into a city bank account and the cashier’s checks later were swapped for additional cash amounts taken from other city accounts.

Morrow has been charged with theft over $60,000, two counts of official misconduct, forgery, and tampering with government records. She is now free on a $10,000 bond.

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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moon4kat said...

Given what she allegedly stole, a $10K bond sounds kind of low.

November 9, 2011 at 12:53 p.m.
ctfpfan08 said...

moon4kat, especially since she'll essentially be paying the bondsman with the stolen money...

November 9, 2011 at 4:15 p.m.
purplelaw said...

The United States and Tennessee Constitutions guarantee that a person charged with a crime is entitled to reasonable bail There are several statutory factors to be considered in setting the amount of bail. There is not enough factual information disclosed in this article to allow for second guessing the amount of bail. Above all bail is designed to ensure the defendant's appearance in court.

November 9, 2011 at 8:11 p.m.
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