CLAIBORNE COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) — An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office determined that a woman who worked as a bookkeeper at the Claiborne County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office stole at least $618,404.

Investigators identified the woman as Lesley Chumley, who was indicted in June on one count of theft over $250,000, one count of official misconduct and one count of tampering with government records.

A news release from the Comptroller’s Office detailed what led to the indictment, claiming that Chumley did not deposit funds remitted to her by other office staff; she instead withheld them for personal use.

Misappropriations date back to May 2015 through February 2022, the release stated. One of the most recent incidents involved Chumley’s alleged withholding of $10,947 in cash. She told investigators that she had been taking court collections and using the cash “due to personal financial problems.”

She created false bank statements to make the balances appear higher than they actually were, the Comptroller’s Office stated.

The indictment followed Chumley’s resignation from the clerk’s office on April 8.

“The former bookkeeper was responsible for maintaining accounting records, reconciling bank statements, and preparing deposits,” said Comptroller Jason Mumpower. “These duties should be separated between multiple individuals to reduce the risk of fraud. The clerk’s office must also discontinue its use of a signature stamp to affix the clerk’s signature on checks.”

If you suspect fraud, waste or abuse of public money in Tennessee, call the Comptroller’s toll-free line at 800-232-5454.