The Center Square – Four individuals were indicted in Lincoln County as part of an investigation that found that more than $117,000 in grant funds had been misappropriated. The funds were paid …
The Center Square – Four individuals were indicted in Lincoln County as part of an investigation that found that more than $117,000 in grant funds had been misappropriated.
The funds were paid for three individuals – Kani Johnson, Makayla Leake and Dustin Simmons – for doing work the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office investigated and found never occurred.
On May 16, former One Stop Operator Program Manager Jennifer Henry was charged with theft of property over $60,000 along with forgery over $60,000 and criminal simulation over $60,000 for her alleged role in the scheme. She was also charged with tampering with government records and official misconduct.
Johnson is Henry’s son.
“At Henry’s direction, a CSP [Career Service Provider] at the Bedford County AJC [American Jobs Center] in Shelbyville signed and approved timesheets that were sent via email by Henry for Johnson, Leake, and Simmons,” the investigation found. “The CSP failed to properly review the timesheets or determine whether the timesheets were legitimate before approval and submission for payment. It appeared that Henry fabricated the timesheets for Johnson, Leake, and Simmons. Investigators noted that signatures for all three participants appeared to be photocopies and did not change between time periods.”
Johnson, Leake and Simmons were all charged with theft of property, forgery, criminal simulation and tampering with government records with a value of more than $60,000 for each.
“When Henry directed the Career Service Provider to approve timesheets without verification, it caused a significant breakdown in internal controls,” said Tennessee Comptroller Jason Mumpower. “The CSP’s role is to contact worksites, correspond with worksite supervisors, and visit worksites as needed. This did not occur in this case, which allowed the scheme to go undetected.”
The issues were found in an investigation of events between May 6, 2019 and Nov. 12, 2021, which was then turned over to the Office of the District Attorney General of the 17th Judicial District.
Johnson and Leake were said to work for Quality Promotion Team, a music promotions company owned by Johnson. Simmons claimed to work for Express HR, a company that purportedly managed the timekeeping/human resource functions for QPT.
No filings were found for Express HR and QPT’s only “identifiable work product” was an event in January 2020.
“Investigators also determined that both businesses used false addresses,” the report said. “The addresses provided for QPT and Express HR were P.O. Boxes that were either not rented by anyone associated with those businesses or were nonexistent.”
The full comptroller’s report can be viewed here.
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