Overton County Clerk created fake vehicle titles to get personal loans
An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office in cooperation with the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Tennessee Department of Revenue has led to findings related to the Overton County Clerk.
The investigation found that the officer, in her capacity as clerk, changed vehicle titles to illegally generate new registrations and titles. She then used these titles to obtain personal bank loans. Key findings of the investigation include:
- The clerk changed a title on a 1949 Cadillac to indicate that it had been sold to one of her family members; then changed the date of sale to show it had been recently purchased. The 1949 Cadillac had been destroyed in a garage fire around the year 2000. The clerk registered the title with the state and used the new, false title as collateral to obtain a $15,000 personal bank loan.
- The clerk changed the transaction information on the title for a 1979 Ford. Although this vehicle no longer exists, the clerk registered the vehicle with the state and used the new, incorrect title as part of security to post a $28,000 personal bank loan obtain.
During an interview with Highway Patrol and Revenue investigators, the clerk admitted changing titles to obtain credit and said she never took possession of the vehicles in question.
The clerk also rigged and/or avoided paying sales tax by declaring vehicles as gifts, thereby falsifying county and state records. In one case, the seller sold a vehicle to a mechanic who she owed money and registered it as a gift to the buyer.
Investigators also discovered that the employee had embezzled county property when she removed office furniture, equipment and some floors from the employees’ offices. The clerk did not receive approval from the Overton County Executive. The office furniture and other equipment were loaded into a trailer and taken to private property.
The results of this investigation were presented to the Attorney General’s Office of the 13thth jurisdiction.
“Officials must conduct government business with a high degree of integrity,” Comptroller Mumpower said. “Falsifying transactions and creating flawed tax exemptions violate government policies and laws. Citizens expect their elected officials to behave ethically, both personally and professionally.”
To view the investigation report, go to: https://comptroller.tn.gov/office-functions/investigations/find.html
If you suspect fraud, waste or misuse of Tennessee public funds, call the Comptroller’s toll-free line at 800.232.5454 or file a report online at: tncot.cc/fraud. Follow us on Twitter @TNCOT and Instagram @tncot.
Media Contact: John Dunn, Director of Communications, 615.401.7755 or [email protected]