Audit finds $104K missing from indicted sheriff’s office

TRENTON, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury’s investigation says an audit found a cash shortage of more than $109,000 in the Gibson County Sheriff’s Office.

Much of the shortage comes from falsified documents regarding overtime, vacation time and other pay for several current and former employees, state officials have told media outlets.

Former Gibson County Sheriff Chuck Arnold and 11 other former and current county sheriff’s employees were indicted on multiple charges Monday following an investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

According to the comptroller’s report, the audit covered the period from July 2013 through the end of Arnold’s term in fall 2014. Of the total $109,429 shortage, $88,550 is a result of seven employees falsifying payroll records to receive pay for time not worked, the report concluded. Several of these employees told auditors the Arnold directed them to falsify timesheets.

Current Gibson County Sheriff Paul Thomas said he notified state officials that he believed there were irregularities in the sheriff’s office when his term began on Sept. 1, 2014. Thomas also said he was aware of discrepancies in vacation time, overtime and other compensation.

“(The compensation discrepancies were) fixed immediately,” Thomas told The Jackson Sun ( “None of this goes beyond Sept. 1, 2014.”

The six who are current employees have been placed on unpaid administrative leave. The defendants have been released on bail but could not be reached for comment by The Jackson Sun.

Arnold’s attorney Mark Donahoe said Arnold plans to plead not guilty.