Comptroller: Claiborne clerk indicted for alleged theft

An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has resulted in the indictment of Patricia “Diane” Heck, the former chief deputy clerk in Claiborne County. The investigation began after the county clerk reported questionable conduct involving the former chief deputy.

Heck stole at least $25,519.74 from the clerk’s office between April 1, 2016 and April 19, 2019, when she resigned.

Investigators determined that Heck overcharged certain vehicle dealerships for the fees they remitted to the clerk on behalf of their customers. Heck assumed responsibility for calculating the fees for many such sales. She provided falsely inflated fee amounts to dealerships and kept the excess amounts for her personal benefit.

In all, investigators identified 646 vehicle registration transactions submitted to the clerk’s office for more than the actual amounts due the clerk.

Heck also altered electronic or manual records in an effort to hide her misappropriation. In some instances, she used a white substance to conceal information on registration documents.

In July 2021, Patricia Diane Heck was indicted by the Claiborne County Grand Jury on one count of theft over $10,000, one count of tampering with government records and one count of official misconduct.

“I am pleased the Claiborne County clerk reported this information to our office,” Comptroller Jason Mumpower said. “I’m also encouraging the clerk to use this opportunity to improve operations within her office by ensuring cash drawers are reconciled with receipts each day and reviewing any unusual or questionable transactions.”