Former jail chief indicted
Stephanie Myers
Former Loudon County jail administrator Teresa Smith was jailed Wednesday on criminal indictments stemming from a state investigation involving nearly $14,000 in missing inmate funds.

Smith, 40, was indicted Monday by a Loudon County grand jury on charges of theft of property $10,000-$60,000 and official misconduct. She was released from Loudon County Jail on $2,000 bond.

According to the new bill indictment provided Friday afternoon by the Loudon County Criminal Court, Smith “did intentionally and knowingly obtain or exercise control over property, to wit: $13,976.84 in cash funds” from the Loudon County Jail’s commissary bank account.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Spokeswoman Susan Niland said TBI investigators found the thefts spanned November 2013 through August “by the collection and personal use of funds destined for the commissary accounts of inmates from designated containers and envelopes; the failure to deposit said funds into bank accounts established for commissary funds; and the failure to properly credit inmate commissary accounts ...,” according to the indictment for official misconduct.

Smith will appear Monday in the Loudon County Courthouse for arraignment on those felony charges, according to the bench warrant.

“Anytime you’re charged with anything you have to be arraigned. Arraignment is just where you go before the judge to be explained what your charges are,” Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider said. “Are you going to hire your own attorney or do you want the court to appoint one. Do you understand your charges. That’s basically what it is and then they’ll set a court date. After any grand jury the following Monday is typically the day of arraignment.”

“It’s unfortunate,” Guider said regarding the case.

Smith resigned from her post in August shortly after a routine yearly audit by the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury turned up the shortage in the jail’s commissary fund.

“Once the comptroller’s office made me aware of the shortage, that’s when I contacted — well, we assisted the comptroller’s office in their initial investigation and then I requested a call to the district attorney,” Guider said. “He suggested that TBI investigate.”

Niland said TBI and the comptroller’s office conducted the investigation.

“Once our investigation is complete, we turn it over to the district attorney. The district attorney is then responsible for determining what charges, if any, would be filed against whom and what those charges are,” Niland said.

“If they need someone from our investigation to testify during any kind of hearings or court appearances then we will, but after we release our information, our case investigation to the DA’s office, they kind of take it from there,” she added. “They determine the charges and it will be put on the docket and so on. They will be responsible for the prosecution of the case.”

Guider said in an earlier interview that only $7,327 had been reported missing from the fund.

“I don’t know what else the TBI did except bring the charges,” Guider said. Smith had been with the department 19 years.

Paula Henderson, who is representing Smith, could not immediately be reached for comment by the News-Herald’s deadline.

Cortney Dugger, spokesman for the Ninth Judicial District, declined comment on the case.

“It’s ongoing until charges are dismissed, she’s acquitted or found not guilty,” Dugger said Friday morning. “We typically can’t talk about any ongoing prosecution because of the rules of pre-trial publicity.”