Woman accused of spending $230K of Fentress County's money on personal items at Walmart

Posted at 4:05 PM, Sep 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-04 17:06:04-04

JAMESTOWN, Tenn. (WTVF) — A former Fentress County employee was indicted on a theft charge after she allegedly stole more than $230,000 from the county.

The Tennessee Comptroller’s Office and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation investigated former Fentress County Finance Department accounts payable clerk Kellye Crabtree.

They found that Crabtree allegedly stole at least $239,680.99 over the course of four years - from the county between December 2014 and December 2018.

Most of the money taken ($237,615.99) was associated with Crabtree’s use of a Walmart credit card that had been issued to Fentress County.

Investigators say she bought food, cigarettes, personal hygiene items, clothing, electronics, entertainment items, home items, phone cards, and prepaid Visa cards and gift cards using the Walmart credit card. None of the purchases were related to county business.

The investigation began when department officials noticed the questionable purchases. She was fired on December 20, 2018.

She was also accused of stealing $2,065 from a community baseball league, which received money from the county, by writing unauthorized checks to herself. In many instances, investigators found Crabtree signed other individual’s names on checks without their knowledge.

“This theft can be directly attributed to giving one person too much control over county funds,” said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson. “Financial duties must be separated between multiple people. One person shouldn’t be able to issue purchase orders, make purchases, receive credit card statements, pay the bills, and maintain the accounting records without sufficient oversight.”

Kellye Crabtree was indicted by the Fentress County Grand Jury on one count of theft over $60,000 on Sept. 3.