Franklin probation officer indicted

Franklin probation officer indicted

June 1st, 2011 by Carey O'Neil in News

Eugenia Ruth Hall

A cash shortage was discovered in the Franklin County Probation Office, leading to the resignation of the county's probation officer, state authorities said.

After a tip and irregularities found during a routine audit, a joint investigation by the state comptroller's division of county audit and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation revealed a shortage of $7,660, according to Blake Fontenay, the comptroller's office communications director.

A Franklin County grand jury indicted probation officer Gena R. Hall on a count of theft between $1,000 and $10,000 and three counts of official misconduct earlier this month, the statement said. She resigned the day she was indicted.

"I always thought the world of Gena," Franklin County Mayor Richard Stewart said. "If she did make mistakes, all I can say is we all make mistakes."

Attempts Tuesday to reach Hall were unsuccessful.

Probationers sometimes must make payments as part of their judicial sentences, and the county probation office is responsible for collecting those payments. Investigators compared copies of receipts issued by the probation office and the office's actual bank deposits. Between Nov. 25, 2009, and Aug. 30, 2010, receipts exceeded the actual bank deposits by $7,660, the comptroller's office said.

Such findings are not unusual, according to Fontenay.

"We've had a number of audits with findings similar to this," he said.

The amounts missing vary, Fontenay said. "Every case is different," he said.

Since the audit, the Franklin County Probation Office began using more sophisticated record systems, and it no longer accepts cash payments, officials said.