UPDATED STORY: former Claiborne circuit court bookkeeper lightens coffers

Published 4:02 pm Monday, June 27, 2022

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The Claiborne Circuit Court coffers are at least $618,000 lighter courtesy of former court bookkeeper Leslie Adaline Chumley, according to the Office of the Tennessee Comptroller. Chumley allegedly siphoned funds collected for fines and other court costs assessed by the Circuit, General Sessions and Juvenile Courts into a fund to alleviate some of her personal financial problems.

Chumley admitted manipulating bank deposits on at least four days, withholding $10,947 in cash for personal use in February 2022. She told investigators she created false bank statements to give the appearance that the bank balances were higher than they really were.

The investigation was initiated once the auditors from the Comptroller’s Division of Local Government Audit identified the discrepancies.

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Chumley voluntarily left the Clerk’s Office on April 8, 2022.

Just last Friday, the Claiborne Grand Jury returned a true bill on Chumley on one count each of official misconduct, theft over $250,000 and the destruction of and tampering with governmental records.

Directly following the indictment, Chumley was arrested and booked into the Claiborne County Jail. She made a $25,000 cash bond and was back on the street within a short time following arrest.

“The former bookkeeper was responsible for maintaining accounting records, reconciling bank statements, and preparing deposits,” said Comptroller Jason Mumpower. “These duties should be separated between multiple individuals to reduce the risk of fraud. The clerk’s office must also discontinue its use of a signature stamp to affix the clerk’s signature on checks.”

To view the investigative report, go to tncot.cc/doireports. To view a map depicting Comptroller investigations, go to tncot.cc/mappinginvestigations.

If you suspect fraud, waste, or abuse of public money in Tennessee, call the Comptroller’s toll-free hotline at 800-232-5454, or file a report online at: tncot.cc/fraud.