Report: Sale of scrap metal led to cash for inmates’ purchases

Published 4:52 pm Friday, February 8, 2019

Claiborne County litter patrol officers allegedly received nearly $24,000 in cash payments from the sale of scrap metal over a two-year period, a practice that goes against state law and resulted in lost revenue for the county, according to a report from the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office.

Sheriff’s litter patrol officers and inmates told investigators it was a long-established practice for the litter patrol to collect the scrap metal and then sell it to buy inmates lunches, snacks, drinks and tobacco products.

Tennessee state law requires that payments for scrap metal sold by a governmental entity be made by check or money order to the particular government entity and then mailed to its business address.

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According to the report, the Claiborne County Sheriff’s Office has begun to deposit checks from the sale of the scrap metal with the county trustee.

Investigators within the comptroller’s office reviewed records from Claiborne County from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2018.

The comptroller said the collection of cash over two years resulted in lost revenue for the county. In all, the cash payments amounted to $23,763.18 over the course of two years, according to the report.

The investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office is still ongoing.