State report details how clerk stole city funds - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

State report details how clerk stole city funds

By Justin Hanson - bio | email

MASON, TN (WMC-TV) - As now former Mason City Clerk Arnita Mitchell awaits her trial for stealing over $96,000, city officials are scratching their heads wondering how she pulled it off.  

A recently released state audit reveals how Mitchell stole city funds.

"Yes, this is very embarrassing," said Mason Mayor David Ward.

The audit reveals that Mitchell admitted to the crime.  According to the report, City Recorder Nancy Hazlerig failed to ensure cash collections reflected amounts deposited in the bank. 

The audit states that Arnita Mitchell, who is responsible for posting to the court docket and collecting fines, did not complete the postings or they were inaccurate. 

Records also indicate that Hazlerig routinely allowed Mitchell and other employees to use the cash drawer to make purchases but the town did not have an approved petty cash fund.  

The report also found that city cash collections were not deposited correctly or intact. 

Finally, it details how Mitchell paid herself for vacation not yet earned. 

"It'll go to trial like we've been told, and I feel confident that justice will be served," Ward said.

Ward added has no idea how this happened.  But, he ordered surveillance cameras installed to deter future theft.

"You're supposed to go to work, do your job, and be honest and apparently that wasn't happening," he said.

As of now, no one else has been charged in this case but the District Attorney says he is still investigating. 

Arnita Mitchell's trial is scheduled to begin in Tipton County in April of next year.

To read the complete Town of Mason audit, click here.

To read Arnita Mitchell's indictment, just click here.

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