published Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Ex-Tennessee State Museum worker stole almost $62,000, investigation finds

Investigators found that a former administrative services assistant with the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville took $61,892.04 in taxpayer money, according to a news release from the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury.

In February 2014 investigators began to identify a cash shortage created by the former administrative services assistant. Investigators discovered the employee had falsified 26 invoices and submitted them for payment to her personal account. She used her role as a processor of purchase orders and requisitions to create phony invoices for historical artifacts.

The worker admitted creating the false invoices and submitting them for payment with photocopies of her supervisor’s signature. Those payments totaled $49,476.97, according to the report.

Investigators also discovered the employee used a rental car for 15 months and billed $12,415.97 to the Tennessee State Museum. The employee admitted she improperly charged the rental fees to the museum after her personal car broke down. Her employment has been terminated.

Investigators determined the administrative services assistant was a convicted felon on parole for a theft of property over $60,000. Museum officials were not aware of her conviction at the time she was hired in April 2011.

The Museum Commission is taking steps to require background checks on all future employees.

The comptroller’s office and the chief investigator from the office of the Tennessee Attorney General handled the investigation.

“The Tennessee State Museum helps preserve, protect and share our state’s fascinating history,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “We must also protect taxpayer dollars to ensure the continued success of this institution.”

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