A special investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has revealed that two members of the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Officers Association (TLETOA) stole at least $175,700 from the nonprofit association.
According to a press release by the comptroller’s office, the investigation was initiated at the request of TLETOA officials after they discovered questionable payments from the association bank account. The TLETOA is comprised of approximately 400 law enforcement training officers, and its primary purpose is to provide training to law enforcement personnel throughout the state.
The Governor’s Highway Safety Office provides the primary funding for the training conducted by TLETOA via a grant to Columbia State Community College. Comptroller investigators found that from May 2010 to October 2013, former TLETOA treasurer Robert Hall and TLETOA project director Gary Bradley received association funds for their personal benefit.
Robert Hall issued unauthorized checks to himself totaling at least $87,850, and Gary Bradley accepted checks that he knew were unauthorized totaling $87,850. In 2013 alone they issued checks to themselves totaling $103,200, which is more than 41 percent of TLETOA’s total training funds.
Mr. Hall and Mr. Bradley used several methods to conceal their unauthorized payments. These included placing signatures of two TLETOA presidents on documents to falsely indicate approval of some payments, and Mr. Hall omitted the unauthorized checks in his verbal financial reports to the board. During this period, both men worked full time for law enforcement agencies. Robert Hall retired from the Sparta Police Department in June 2014, and Gary Bradley is employed by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
None of the 14 current and former TLETOA board members with whom investigators spoke recalled any board discussion or approval of the unauthorized compensation to Mr. Hall and Mr. Bradley. All expressed their shock at the amounts Mr. Hall and Mr. Bradley paid themselves.
On January 4, 2016, the White County Grand Jury indicted Robert Hall and Gary Bradley each on one count of theft over $60,000, one count of criminal conspiracy, and one count of forgery.
“By allowing one person, the former treasurer, to have complete control over the association’s finances, this theft was able to take place over several years,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “Separating financial responsibilities between multiple individuals provides a vital control to prevent and detect theft.”
To view the special investigation online, go to: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/ia/.
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: www.comptroller.tn.gov/hotline. Follow us on twitter: @TNCOT