Former Hardin County Road Superintendent indicted on two counts
HARDIN COUNTY, Tenn. — Former Hardin County Road Superintendent Steven Cromwell has been indicted on two counts after an investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office.
A news release states that an investigation revealed Cromwell used $20,750 of department funds to pave a driveway on a private property. Cromwell allegedly made an agreement with the property owner to pave the driveway in exchange for .53 acres of land needed to build a county bridge.
Comptroller investigators searched Hardin County land records and were unable to find any legal instrument showing conveyance of the necessary interest in the land, meaning the county bridge was improperly constructed on private property.
Based on state property records, the .53 acres were valued at $1,749, meaning the Hardin County Highway Department overpaid around $19,001 to acquire the land needed for bridge construction. Furthermore, the department could have received a 100% state reimbursement if it had properly purchased the land.
Investigators also determined that Cromwell falsified invoices to purchase a truck for $15,170. The release states the transaction was split into separate invoices to avoid bidding requirements, and Cromwell also instructed a department employee to misclassify some of the truck expenditures as “hauling costs.”
The release states that Cromwell resigned from his position in September 2021. In July 2022, the Hardin County Grand Jury indicted Cromwell on one count of forgery, and one count of destruction of and tampering with governmental records.
“The Hardin County Road Commission must ensure it’s reviewing itemized invoice information when approving the highway department’s monthly expenditures,” said Comptroller Jason Mumpower. “By improving its oversight, the commission can help detect improper activity.”
Click here to view the full investigative report.
If you suspect fraud, waste or abuse of public money in Tennessee, you can call the Comptroller’s toll-free hotline at 800-232-5454 or file a report online at tncot.cc/fraud.
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