Town's $187 stolen check costs taxpayers $25K - WSMV Channel 4

Town's $187 stolen check costs taxpayers $25K

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A west Tennessee town has become the victim of identity theft, costing tax payers more than $25,000.

The state comptroller said officials in Henning mailed a check to a company in Texas.

However, an investigation revealed that the $187.65 check was actually sent to a vendor in Dallas to cover a legitimate expense.

That check was intercepted and altered to reflect a payment of $25,500 payable to "Cheveze Pippins."

State officials said the check was then deposited into a Houston bank account last year.  

Several months later, unsuccessful attempts were made to transact the two counterfeit checks in the town's name at banks in Louisiana and Texas.

The mayor of Henning initially told auditors that the stolen check was lost at a store in Covington, TN.

Auditors said the town should have taken action immediately to stop payment on the stolen check after they realized the intended company did not receive it.

The audit found that town officials failed to "adequately document some transactions, pre-signed some blank checks and improperly handled vehicles confiscated by police."

"This case illustrates the importance of proper record-keeping," said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson in a news release. "Adequate safeguards need to be in place so lost or stolen checks are quickly detected and appropriately handled."

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