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State officials say almost $230,000 was stolen from the South Pittsburg Housing Authority and the South Pittsburg Elderly Housing Authority over a four-year period.

Two employees, former accounting director Jan Brooks and former public housing manager Leslie Jackson, were implicated in the theft of funds, according to a release from the Tennessee Comptroller's Office.

Officials say Brooks used at least three schemes to steal at least $127,980 from the housing authorities. These schemes included making at least $100,368 in personal purchases on a housing authority credit card that included hotel stays in Las Vegas, New Orleans, and at a casino in Mississippi.

Brooks also issued as least $25,122 in checks to herself, and issued $2,490 in fraudulent payroll checks to herself, according to the Comptroller's Office release.

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Leslie Jackson
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Janice Brooks

Jackson stole $5,405 from the South Pittsburg Housing Authority, including a $2,755 trip to Chicago for a conference that Jackson never attended, and personal purchases on a Lowe's account totaling at least $2,649, according to the release. The Lowe's purchases included lumber and other supplies to build a pavilion next to the swimming pool at her home, the Comptroller said. 

Investigators also discovered that $95,595 in cash collections had been stolen from the two housing authorities. Generally, Ms. Brooks and Ms. Jackson were responsible for collecting cash and making deposits. Both women admitted they were aware that bank deposits had been manipulated.

On June 1, the Marion County Grand Jury indicted Brooks on one count of theft over $60,000 and one count of theft over $10,000. Jackson was indicted on one count of theft over $1,000.

"The amount of theft in this case is alarming," Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. "While it's easy to blame the criminal behavior of two individuals, housing authority officials must also take the necessary steps to shore up a number of issues which allowed these thefts to occur."

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or twitter.com/BenBenton or www.facebook.com/ben.benton1 or 423-757-6569.

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