Pulaski Electric Service employee charged with theft
PULASKI, Tenn. (WSMV) - A former customer service representative for the Pulaski Electric System has been indicted on theft charges after allegedly taking almost $40,000 from the utility from March 2019 until she was fired in February 2020, the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office said Tuesday.
Investigators said that Jenna Coleman misappropriated $37,845.97 from the electric utility. Her job responsibilities included collecting payments from customers for their electric, phone, internet and cable services.
According to the investigation, Coleman collected cash payments from customers, entered the payments into the accounting system, and then reversed those same payments, which allowed her to take the cash for her personal use.
Coleman allegedly used a lapping scheme to replace the money in customers’ accounts with collections she received on subsequent days. During the course of her misappropriation, she made unauthorized adjustments to 188 customer accounts to conceal her removal of customers’ payments.
Coleman’s scheme was discovered by another customer service representative in February 2020. At that time, there were 10 customer accounts that had not been repaid totaling $1,715.21. PES deducted this amount from Coleman’s final paycheck and reported the misappropriation to the Comptroller’s Office.
Based upon the investigation, the Giles County Grand Jury indicted Coleman on one count of theft over $10,000, one count of computer crimes over $10,000 and one count of false entries in governmental records.
“Governmental entities are responsible for developing and implementing strong internal controls to help reduce fraud waste and abuse,” Comptroller Jason Mumpower said in a news release. “In this instance, PES had been alerted to a shortage in Coleman’s cash drawer in January 2020, but the supervisor failed to take corrective action. PES also did not monitor its reversed and voided payment reports which would have shown that Coleman had an unusual amount of this activity.”
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