Court employee suspended after 'substantial amount' of money goes missing in Murray County

Court employee suspended after 'substantial amount' of money goes missing in Murray County

February 3rd, 2017 by Tyler Jett in Local Regional News

The Murray County courthouse downtown Chatsworth, Ga.

Photo by Angela Lewis Foster /Times Free Press.

Correction: A preview headline stated the employee was fired amid allegations of stealing public money. The employee has been suspended.

Murray County, Ga., officials suspended a probate court employee this week amid allegations of stealing public money.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Greg Ramey said county employees realized a "substantial amount" of money was missing from the probate court's coffers when they updated an internal software system. There were abnormalities, Ramey said.

He did not want to provide specific details of the case because the suspect is not yet under arrest. But he said investigators contacted the software makers months ago, and they installed an alert in the system to tell investigators whenever this particular abnormality occurred.

Investigators monitored the program.

The GBI and the Murray County Sheriff's Office searched the probate court's office with a warrant Thursday afternoon, surprising employees. Ramey declined to say how much money they think the suspect took because agents are still investigating.

The county has since suspended the employee.

"There has not been an arrest yet," Ramey said, "although I anticipate there will be one soon."

Probate Court Judge John Waters said he didn't know about the investigation before the search Thursday. Waters, who took office Jan. 1, said he has since learned that investigators have been looking into transactions at his office since last year.

The judge wants to wait for the rest of the investigation to roll out before condemning his employee.

"All the team members here are valued," he said. "We're a family here. At this point, we want to support our family member."

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or Follow him on Twitter @LetsJett.