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Former Decatur Co. Mayor, Employees Indicted On Theft Charges

Posted at 8:06 PM, Sep 20, 2017

Eight former Decatur County employees including the county mayor were indicted on charges of theft of property.

The eight indicted were former county mayor Michael Smith, his wife and bookkeeper Doris Smith, administrative assistant Martha Graves, EMS director Mark Hayes, EMA director James Kevin Cagle, chief deputy William Scott Cagle, solid waste director Robert Haynes and jail administrator Pamela Brasher.

They were arrested on Tuesday and posted bond. 

The district attorney's office said Michael is charged with taking unauthorized money from the county coffers, forging or entering false or incorrect data into government records, and taking responsibility for the actions of those under his supervision who have engaged in criminal activity.  

In total, Michael has been facing 18 charges.

Read the full investigation by clicking here.

A spokesperson said all of the indictments were in violation of TCA code and of the description of duties and responsibilities of a county official as outlined by Tennessee statute.  

"It's just very disappointing and very disheartening. As a taxpayer, I am frustrated," Mike Creasy, current county mayor, told NewsChannel 5.

The alleged incidents occurred between 2011 and 2014 before Creasy took over the office. 

Michael has been accused of stealing more than $15,000 in the span of three years by paying himself the money to cover his health insurance even though he never signed up for the county's health insurance plan. 

In addition, the indictment alleged that he allowed the employees to receive more than $38,000 through a variety of vacation and holiday time they did not earn.

Meanwhile, the other suspects were alleged to have profited thousands based on the fraudulent documents which reflected unearned and undocumented compensatory hours.

William Cagle and Pamela Brasher were also indicted on forgery charges. 

William Cagle's indictment stated that he 'knowingly or intentionally forge a writing by altering his Separation Form so that it purported to be the act of another who did not authorize the act, when Caugle utilized the Sheriff's signature stamp to execute the form which, after Cagle's fradulent alterations.'

"We're a small county, we struggle financially. We struggle so hard to save every penny we can to allocate it where we need it most, and deliberate actions like this is very disappointing," Creasy added.

Last year an audit by the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury found several troubling issues including the lack of accounting records and unauthorized bonuses.

Creasy said he's working to gain the trust back from the community with a more trusted and qualified system. 

"Any check writing or anything else goes through four different steps here," he said. 

The Comptroller released its own report on Friday. You can read their full investigation at this link.