Drug task force audit shows no problems

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Special to the Tribune

Tennessee's comptroller has given the 17th Judicial District's Drug Task Force a clean bill of health in its annual audit, while five other districts were cited for various issues.

The 171-page report from Comptroller Justin P. Wilson reviews funds administered by the district attorneys' general offices and the drug task forces in the 31 districts in Tennessee for the year ended June 30, 2011.

The 17th Judicial District covers Marshall, Bedford, Moore and Lincoln counties.

The review "disclosed no material findings and recommendations in this district," showing that the district attorney's office had total liabilities and fund balances totaling $71,418, with the Task Force having $381,558, for a total of $452,976.

The Task Force collected a total of $131,458 drug control fines, and $173,592 for forfeitures and seizures, along with $37,442 in proceeds from confiscated property. Those figures, along with contributions, and state and federal grants totaled $540,614, which included $12,214 in fees to the district attorney general's office.

The D.A.'s office and Task Force had expenditures of $334,756, which included $29,884 in payments for "confidential drug enforcement."

Other judicial districts' drug task forces were audited with less favorable findings.

The 3rd Judicial District group, consisting of Greene, Hamblen, Hancock and Hawkins Counties, failed to keep proper track of monies, failed to properly record and manage seized property and failed to maintain adequate documentation to support some confidential informant expenditures.

Also, state auditors found the task force didn't follow proper purchasing procedures and kept inadequate equipment inventory control records.

Due to difficulties auditors encountered in obtaining records and documentation needed to complete their review in that district, officials extended the review to include operations through March 5, 2012.

In Campbell, Claiborne, Fentress, Scott and Union counties, the 8th District Task Force had unallowable costs of $15,227 related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Justice Assistance Grant.

The audit of the 10th Judicial District showed that a forfeiture warrant was not filed in court and an assistant district attorney used a Drug Task Force fuel card to fuel his personal vehicle used for official business instead of personally buying the fuel and filing an expense claim for reimbursement. The 10th District is made up of Bradley, McMinn, Monroe and Polk Counties.

In the 18th District - it serves only Sumner County - the Drug Task Force had deficiencies in the use of federal funds, and in the 24th District, consisting of Benton, Carroll, Decatur, Hardin and Henry Counties, auditors found the Drug Task Force had a cash shortage of $5,565.