8 employees of clerk's office indicted - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

8 employees of clerk's office indicted

The indictments were announced Wednesday. The indictments were announced Wednesday.

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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Shelby County District Attorney Bill Gibbons announced the indictments of eight employees of the Shelby County Clerk's Office at a press conference Wednesday.

Gibbons said the indictments were the result of an investigation that looked into auto registration practices inside the Clerk's Office, where some employees would allegedly accept tips or gifts in exchange for favors during registrations.

"We have reason to believe this was a practice that had been somewhat long-standing in the office," Gibbons said.

Five employees were charged with registering vehicles without inspections or proper documentation in exchange for payments, while three were charged with handling multiple transactions at one time in exchange for payments.

Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin said the investigation that led to the indictments was the result of a criminal complaint.

"We received a criminal complaint from someone within the clerk's office that was very instrumental," he said.

The resulting investigation took 1,400 man hours, included 40 witnesses and cost $56,000.

Among those indicted, three were charged with accepting money from Memphis City Council member Barbara Swearengen Ware in exchange for services.

"I think the indictment spells out her role very well," Gibbons said.

Ware is not charged with any crime at this time.

By Wednesday afternoon, all eight indicted employees were in custody. Shelby County Clerk Debbie Stamson was not among those indicted.

"It's very sad, very sad," Stamson said. "It's heartbreaking."

Stamson says she had no idea, and her office says it's still searching for anyone else involved.

"We try not to reach any conclusions about the depth of this problem until we feel like we've completed this investigation," Deputy County Attorney Danny Presley said.

If convicted, the indicted employees could face a maximum of eight to twelve years in prison, Gibbons said.


EXCERPT FROM A PRESS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE D.A.'s OFFICE:

(CLICK ON A NAME TO READ THE FULL INDICTMENT AGAINST THAT PERSON)

The Grand Jury returned indictments against the following five clerk's office employees for allegedly accepting a benefit upon agreeing to "register vehicles without the vehicles having gone through inspections required by the City of Memphis or without other proper documentation required to register the vehicle":

  • Janice Garrett, 52. The Grand Jury indicted Garrett for three counts of bribery of a public servant. According to the indictment, Garrett allegedly accepted money from Angelica Tejedaugh on January 11, 2008 and January 15, 2008; and from Barbara Swearengen-Holt on April 29, 2008.
  • Millicent Rogers, 42. The Grand Jury indicted Rogers for one count of bribery of a public servant. According to the indictment, Rogers allegedly accepted money from Barbara Swearengen-Holt on January 3, 2008.
  • Patricia Reid, 55. The Grand Jury indicted Reid for four counts of bribery of a public servant. According to the indictment, Reid allegedly accepted money from Barbara Swearengen-Holt on May 3, 2007; and from Angelica Tejedaugh on January 18, 2008, January 22, 2008, and June 12, 2008.
  • Rita Jones, 43. The Grand Jury indicted Jones for seven counts of bribery of a public servant. According to the indictment, Garrett accepted money from Otha Todd on December 16, 2005, May 2, 2006, May 8, 2006, June 1, 2006, July 3, 2006, August 28, 2006, and January 11, 2007.
  • Anita Porter, 48. The Grand Jury indicted Porter for one count of bribery of a public servant. According to the indictment, Porter accepted money from Maureen Bowers on October 23, 2008.

The Grand Jury returned indictments against the following three clerk's office employees for allegedly accepting a benefit upon agreeing to "run multiple transactions…as opposed to running a fewer number of transactions at one time":

  • Seprice Crews, 40. The Grand Jury indicted Crews for one count of bribery of a public servant. According to the indictment, Porter accepted money from a representative for Unique Auto Sales on October 24, 2008.
  • Julia Marshall, 42. The Grand Jury indicted Marshall for one count of bribery of a public servant. According to the indictment, Marshall accepted money from a representative for Fleet Equipment between August 27 and August 30, 2008.
  • Darlene McKee, 43. The Grand Jury indicted McKee for one count of bribery of a public servant. According to the indictment, McKee accepted money through Julia Marshall (also indicted) from a representative for Fleet Equipment between August 27 and August 30, 2008.

SOURCE: Shelby County District Attorney's Office

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