A former Tipton County Sheriff’s Office deputy was among those indicted this week.
Daniel William Jacobs, 32, of Covington, was indicted by the grand jury on charges of attempting to use his position as a deputy to obtain a vehicle the sheriff’s office was supposed to auction to the public.
As the TCSO’s evidence custodian, it was Jacobs’ job to list vehicles on GovDeals.com, where the public can bid on them. Most local government agencies in the area use the site to clear government property from their inventory.
Investigators said in May 2021 Jacobs and another employee were told not to list anything on the site in June due to a budgetary freeze prior to the end of the fiscal year. However, they received a notification that a 2010 Lincoln MKZ had been posted for sale at 1:42 a.m. on June 10 and had been sold 38 seconds later.
Jacobs’ friend, 32-year-old Jacob Anthony Gardner, had purchased the vehicle for $500. When they found out, TCSO officials reportedly cancelled the sale immediately and credited the money back to Gardner. Jacobs later admitted to investigators he allowed Gardner to purchase the vehicle for his personal use. He resigned from his position in July 2021.
It is illegal for public servants to purchase for personal gain properties belonging to the government entities they serve. A former Munford city manager was indicted on similar charges in March 2020.
Jacobs was charged with official misconduct, attempted theft under $10,000, and computer offenses $2,500 to $10,000. Gardner, also of Covington, was only charged with attempted theft under $10,000.
Using GovDeals.com, in October the Lincoln was sold for $2,853.83.
Both Jacobs and Gardner were arrested Tuesday and released on bond. They will appear in court next week for arraignment and are set for trial on Nov. 11, unless the matter is settled or postponed before that date.
The comptroller’s office also noted the sheriff’s office lacked a written policy for the sale of assets using online platforms. The sheriff has since corrected this.
The comptroller’s investigative report can be found in its entirety here: https://comptroller.tn.gov/content/dam/cot/ia/advanced-search/2022/police-or-sheriff-department/TiptonCountySheriffsOfficeReport.pdf.