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Timothy Proffitt

Meigs County Chancery Court Clerk and Master Timothy Ned Proffitt was arrested Tuesday on a grand jury indictment charging him with falsifying a hotel receipt that he turned in for reimbursement.

After a monthlong Tennessee Bureau of Investigation probe, Proffitt, 52, turned himself in around 9:45 a.m. Tuesday at the Meigs County Jail in Decatur, Tenn., Chief Deputy Brian Malone said. Proffitt was released less than an hour later on a $1,000 bond, jail officials said.

Proffitt could not be reached for comment, and staff at the clerk and master's office said he had not been in the office all day Tuesday.

TBI officials said the investigation started Oct. 30. Special agents said they discovered that, in April, Proffitt submitted a falsified receipt to the Meigs County Finance Department for reimbursement, according to a TBI news release.

The indictment issued in Meigs County Circuit Court states that Proffitt submitted a document to county finance officials on April 14 seeking reimbursement on "a receipt for lodging" intended "to defraud or harm ... the Meigs County Government." The indictment does not state an amount of money listed on the fake receipt.

Officials in 9th District Attorney Russell Johnson's office said Tuesday they could not discuss the case.

Proffitt still holds his post, to which he was appointed by the 9th District chancellor, TBI officials said Tuesday.

Chancellor Frank Vernon Williams on Tuesday defended Proffitt, calling him an "honest and dedicated public servant" in a prepared statement and saying that Proffitt "would never attempt to defraud or mislead state or county officials to obtain anything for himself or others."

"This indictment is an outgrowth of an apparently ongoing dispute between Mr. Proffitt and some members of Meigs County government over the salaries paid to deputy clerks and other office-related expenses," Williams said in the statement.

"But Mr. Proffitt thought that all of those disputes had been resolved when he reached an agreement earlier this year with the County Commission that settled all those issues."

Williams called the indictment "an attempt to punish him for standing up for his staff and his office" and said he is confident Proffitt will be exonerated.

Meigs County Mayor Bill James could not be reached for comment.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or twitter.com/BenBenton or www.facebook.com/ben.benton1.

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