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Former White Co Chief Deputy Clerk Indicted For Theft Over $10,000

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Former White Co Chief Deputy Clerk Indicted For Theft Over $10,000

Former White County Chief Deputy Clerk Laura Gardner has been indicted for theft and violating the Computer Act according to a State Comptroller’s report released Thursday.

An investigation of the Clerk’s Office records spanning from 2012 to 2019 found that Gardner stole over $12,000. Director of Communications John Dunn said both the former and current clerks failed to provide adequate oversight over the employee.

“The clerk should periodically review those logs, and if she sees that type of activity occurring, the clerk should ask more questions and find out why that might have happened,” Dunn said. “If that would have been done with more regularity in this situation, the theft would not have been allowed to go on for five years.”

The ongoing investigation that’s now concluded has been a finding on the county’s audit for the past several years. Dunn said any future audits will no longer have this particular investigation included.

“The former deputy clerk was terminated from her employment back in June of 2019,” Dunn said. “It was around that time that this all came to light, so it’s fair to say that this has been something that has been at least on the radar for quite some time.”

Investigators noted at least 64 improperly deleted transactions made by Gardner. For example, Gardner improperly deleted at least 11 check transactions totaling almost $7,000 by voiding the check transactions in an accounting software. Gardner then removed the cash equal to the checks from the Clerk’s Office daily bank deposit. Gardner used the diverted funds for personal expenses.

Gardner also deleted at least 53 cash transactions resulting in over $5,000. The investigation went on to say that Gardner improperly voided vehicle tag renewals and registrations from the office’s accounting software as well.

According to the report, Gardner admitted to the allegations.


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