HAYWOOD COUNTY, Tenn. — A California woman was indicted on Friday after she allegedly stole over $32,000 from a Haywood County library.
According to the press release, Shekinah Edwards allegedly issued 14 checks made payable to herself from the Elma Ross Public Library from May to June 2020. Each of the checks had forged signatures of two library officials. Edwards reportedly deposited the checks into her personal checking and savings accounts.
Investigators working with the Brownsville Police Department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) determined that Edwards, who lives in California, somehow gained access to the library’s bank account and check information. Investigators say she was never employed by the library and has no apparent connection to any employees.
Investigators also determined the library director failed to reconcile the library’s bank account each month. Although many of the fraudulent checks were issued in May and June 2020, the library director didn’t discover the problem until July 2020.
According to the press release, when the library board was informed of the fraudulent checks in July, the board instructed the director to contact the police and report the theft. However, the director did not contact the police until September 2020.
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The Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury said had the bank been informed of the stolen checks within 30 days, bank officials confirmed that there would have been a higher chance of collecting all of the funds. As a result of not discovering the fraudulent activity earlier, the library was only able to recover over $9,000 of the $32,000.
Edwards was indicted by the Haywood County Grand Jury on one count of theft.