Internal Investigation Into Smith County Misuse Of Equipment, Money Launched

An internal investigation has been announced into alleged criminal behavior by employees of Smith County.

The Smith County Sheriff's Department is looking into accusations of the theft of county road materials, and the misuse of county equipment and labor to conduct work on private property.

Right now, officials say they won't comment on the identity of the employees under investigation, but they stress that if they find anything, criminal charges will be filed.

The Smith County Commissioner's Court has released a statement on the alleged activity. The full text is below.

On Friday, June 6, 2008, Commissioners Court officials were made aware of alleged theft of county road materials and the misuse of county equipment and labor to conduct work on private property. That information was turned over to the Smith County Sheriff's  Department and is the subject of an ongoing internal investigation.

Because this is an ongoing investigation and involves alleged criminal acts, the Commissioners Court, the Road and Bridge Administrator, and related staff are unable to divulge or comment on specific information regarding the county employees involved, locations, or the scope of the investigation; however, the Smith County Commissioners Court strongly condemns even the appearance of abuse or misuse of taxpayer funds and assets.

If the allegations are substantiated, we have requested that the appropriate criminal charges be filed. Once the Sheriff's Department and the District Attorney have given us the signal that it is appropriate to do so, the Commissioners Court will take the strongest possible action to send a message to the citizens of Smith County and to our employees that we will not tolerate any theft of taxpayer assets. We are prepared to support the prosecution of such criminal acts to the fullest extent of the law.

The Commissioners Court asks for the public's assistance in bringing forward any information that might assist in the investigation of misuse of county equipment, road materials, and/or labor. Please report information to: Detective Travis Breazeale 903-590-2678.