WHITE COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – The former Chief Deputy Clerk of White County has been indicted for stealing more than $12,000 from the clerk’s office.

According to the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office, Laura Gardner allegedly stole $12,312.60 from her office from 2014 to 2019.

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The investigation began after auditors from the Comptroller’s division of Local Government Audit uncovered questionable deleted transactions. They subsequently determined Gardner stole upwards of $12,000 by deleting transactions from the clerk’s office accounting software. These deletions gave the false impression that the money was never collected by the clerk’s office.

By voiding the cash and check transactions, officials said, Gardner was able to remove money from the office’s daily collections and use it for her personal expenses.

Gardner reportedly admitted to her scheme in a statement given to investigators.

Additionally, the Comptroller’s Office said, by deleting transactions, multiple vehicle tag and registration renewals were never reported to the Tennessee Department of Revenue, which put them at risk of registration violations.

Gardner’s employment with the clerk’s office was terminated June 21, 2019 when the malfeasance was discovered.

Gardner was indicted this month by the White County Grand Jury on one count of theft over $10,000 and one count of violation of the computer act.

“The White County Clerk must routinely review the office’s accounting software logs to be sure that all deletions and changes are appropriate,” Comptroller Jason Mumpower said. “By not questioning this activity, the former chief deputy clerk was able to divert funds from 2014 through 2019 without detection.”

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To view the full report from the Comptroller’s Office, click here.