Two sisters booked last month on felony theft charges for reportedly taking thousands of dollars from the Sequatchie County Fair Association were spending the money on diet pills and fictitious purchases, investigators said.
Karen Marshall, the fair association president, and former fair association board treasurer Pamela Smith stole money from the organization by writing and cashing checks on fair accounts to buy things for themselves, according to a statement released Monday by the Tennessee Comptroller's Office.
Comptroller's office investigators determined that Marshall, 61, used two schemes to steal at least $2,000, officials said.
Investigators said Marshall wrote and cashed fair association checks totaling at least $1,355 and kept the money for her personal benefit. Marshall also used the association's debit card to make 12 payments totaling at least $700 for diet pills.
Smith, 59, stole almost $5,200 from the fair association by writing and transacting at least 10 unauthorized checks, including checks to herself and to cash, officials said. Smith concealed her fraudulent actions by writing fictitious purposes on the memo line of the checks.
Smith resigned her position as treasurer on Jan. 27. Attempts to contact Marshall have been unsuccessful.
Comptroller's office investigators said both women admitted to investigators that they used fair association money for personal use.
The probe was finished in December 2016, said 12th Judicial District Assistant District Attorney Steve Strain, who presented the case to the grand jury in January.
Each of the women were indicted on one count of theft over $1,000. The charge is a class D felony.
According to the indictments, Smith is charged with thefts taking place between June 2012 and December 2014, while Marshall is charged with thefts taking place between March 2012 and March 2014.
"The Sequatchie County Fair Board must take steps to prevent theft," Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said in the release. "The board should review bank statements, require two signatures on all checks, and ensure that proper financial records are kept. Improved oversight will help the board promptly detect fraudulent schemes."
Both women were freed on $5,000 bonds and face Feb. 16 dates in Sequatchie County Criminal Court.
This story was updated Feb. 6 at 11:00 p.m. with more information.