Former Knox County Schools CTE program director indicted for theft

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A joint investigation by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office and the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has resulted in the indictment of the former director of Knox County Schools Career Technical Education (CTE) program.

Charles Don Lawson has been indicted on one count of theft over $10,000 after investigators determined that Lawson used his school system purchasing card to buy $9,752 worth of parts for vehicles, the majority of which were for personal use. These purchases included an engine and transmission for a 2007 Nissan Murano that was subsequently titled to Lawson.

Lawson also removed school assets from school property totaling at least $26,009. Investigators discovered that at least 11 trailers, two ATVs, one Camaro and one engine were missing from school property. In May 2019, Lawson advised Knox County Sheriff’s detectives that some of these missing items could be found on properties belonging to his relatives. The other missing assets have not been located.

Knox County Schools placed Lawson on paid administrative leave on July 21, 2017, placed him on unpaid administrative leave on August 23, 2017, and removed him from his position on November 17, 2017.

“This investigation highlights a clear need for improved oversight,” said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson. “School and county officials must ensure that proper scrutiny is given to purchasing card transactions. Officials should perform a detailed review of all purchases made and institute a comprehensive inventory system to ensure assets are not missing.”

To view the investigative report, go to: https://comptroller.tn.gov/office-functions/investigations/find.html

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