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Crockett County bookkeeper accused of misappropriating more than $167K

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(The Center Square) – The bookkeeper for Crockett County’s mayor was charged with theft, fraudulent use of a credit card, forgery and official misconduct after an investigation found she allegedly misappropriated more than $167,000 over 11 years.

Michelle Spraggins, who served as the full-time bookkeeper since 1999, is accused of spending nearly $66,000 on personal purchases using a county-issued credit card, being paid more than $66,000 in unauthorized wages and benefits and charging more than $35,000 in family cell phone blls to the county between 2014 and 2023.

Spraggins was suspended without pay from her job starting April 17 and she was indicted on the charges Monday after an investigation from the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office.

“This theft was able to remain undetected for years because county officials entrusted too much financial responsibility in one person,” Comptroller Jason Mumpower said. “In addition to adopting a strong credit card policy, county officials must also ensure they are separating financial duties adequately to reduce the risk of fraud, waste, and abuse of taxpayer money.”

The personal purchases placed on the county credit card included clothing items, cosmetics, pet food, gasoline, groceries, jewelry, party supplies, toys, outdoor furniture and a variety of baby items.

Spraggins paid herself the additional wages out of an “other contracted services” line item account in the mayor’s General Fund account that the mayor was unaware of.

“Spraggins altered documents, forged signatures, and assigned charges to various line item accounts in the county budget in an effort to conceal her misappropriation,” the investigation report said.

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