Ex-Claiborne County chief deputy accused of $25,000 theft

Claiborne County Courthouse

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A former Claiborne County Chief Deputy has been indicted for theft after an investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office found over $25,000 was stolen from the county clerk’s office.

Patricia ‘Diane’ Heck was indicted in July on one charge of theft over $10,000, one count of tampering with government records and official misconduct.

Investigators say she overcharged car dealerships for fees remitted to the clerk on behalf of customers and kept the excess amounts for her own personal benefit. Investigators found a total of 646 vehicle registration transactions submitted to the clerk’s office for more than what was actually due.

She also altered records of the transactions in an effort to hide the misappropriation, even using whiteout to conceal information on registration documents.

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

“I am pleased the Claiborne County clerk reported this information to our office,” said Comptroller Jason Mumpower. “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.”

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