Forensic audit ordered for Shelby County Criminal Court

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County Criminal Court clerk has ordered a forensic review of her office after she says several major problems were found, including fines not being collected or sent to government agencies for years.

Heidi Kuhn, who defeated incumbent Richard DeSaussure in an election in August, said she found several checks and files in drawers when she took office. The previous court clerk’s employees had been using Excel spreadsheets for record keeping, and the files weren’t secure, she said.

The problems seemed to stem from when a new computer system was put into place in the courts about two years ago. The office had stopped collecting fines and sending that money to government agencies beginning around that time, Kuhn said.

“They ceased to pay and do anything for two years,” Kuhn said. “Unfortunately, they didn’t collect any fines or fees, nor did they pay out any money to the county government, or to the sheriff’s office or anyone who was owed money.”

Kuhn couldn’t say how much money was involved.

“We don’t know exactly what we’re dealing with or how much we have,” she said.

Kuhn’s office will hire two temporary employees to convert the old Excel files for 1-2 months. Then, an outside agency will conduct the forensic audit, which will take about a month, she said.

The office must submit a proposed budget to the county in March.