published Thursday, March 27th, 2014

TN property assessor took public money to buy fancy pens, investigation shows

The former Putnam County property assessor, Travis Roberts, used county money for his own benefit, an investigation by the Tennessee comptroller’s office shows.

Roberts told investigators he had used a county credit card to buy computers and related accessories over the last year. He sold that equipment and used the money for personal expenses or traded the equipment to pay off debts, investigators found.

He also said he had purchased premium ink pens and mechanical pencils that were valued at more than $24 each. He knew it was wrong to spend county money on those items, Roberts told investigators, but he really liked nice pens and took a lot of pride in his penmanship.

Earlier this week, the Putnam County Grand Jury indicted Roberts on one count of theft over $1,000 and one count of official misconduct. He resigned from his position this week.

“Any time a person in a position of public trust violates that trust, it is of great concern to our office,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said in a statement. “I commend our investigators for the work that they have done on this case and also law enforcement officials for taking swift action to bring this matter into the legal arena.”

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