Comptroller: Former employee stole more than $8K from Carter County children’s program

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CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A former Carter County Head Start program employee has been indicted on a theft charge after investigators say she used the program’s credit cards to purchase thousands of dollars worth of personal items.

According to a release from the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury, Joyce Parsons is a former administrative assistant for Carter County’s Head Start.

The program’s website states it is “a comprehensive early childhood program for low-income children and their families.”

An investigation found that Parsons had used credit cards belonging to the program to buy at least $8,657 worth of products, the release states. The comptroller’s office reports those purchases included clothing, groceries, cosmetics and other personal goods.

“Parsons admitted that she made the purchases and told investigators that she signed other employee’s names to her receipts to conceal her activities,” the release states.

The comptroller’s office reports they were first alerted to the activity by Head Start officials. Parsons was reportedly suspended without pay on January 22, 2020 and later fired on April 13, 2020.

Parsons was indicted on one count of theft over $2,500 by the Carter County Grand Jury in July 2021.

“In addition to Parsons’ misappropriation, investigators are also questioning Head Start disbursements totaling $6,276,” the release states. “This money was used for food purchases, travel, car rentals, and supplies; however, the purchases were not supported with itemized receipts or other supporting documentation.”

You can view the complete report on Parson’s alleged activities by clicking here.

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