Investigators said Wednesday charges filed against Chad and Paula Michele Tanner were the result of multiple complaints of money missing from the Commerce E-Corps.
The Hunt County Office of Homeland Security released a statement concerning the Tanner’s arrests Monday night, following indictments issued Sept. 13 from the Hunt County grand jury.
The office indicated the investigation stemmed from several complaints from different persons and entities that there seemed to be a misuse of money belonging to the Commerce E-Corps.
Chad Lee Tanner, 50, and his wife Paula Michele Tanner, 46, were indicted on one count of theft of property between $2,500 and $30,000 from the agency.
According to the statement David Alexander, Hunt County Homeland Security investigator, said he interviewed numerous persons inside and outside the organization and reviewed a great amount of financial reports, expenditures, bank statements and other documents.
Chad Tanner had been elected the Chief of Commerce E-Corps in December 2017 and Paula Tanner Secretary/Treasurer at the same time and they remained in their positions until the end of August 2018.
No other individuals were implicated in the investigation. The charge is a third degree felony, punishable upon conviction by a maximum sentence of from two to 20 years in prison and an optional fine of up to $10,000.
The Hunt County Homeland Security Department was also the agency involved with a similar investigation in late 2018, in which former Merit Volunteer Fire Department Chief Wilfred Lewis Barber ultimately pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a combination of probation and jail time, along with restitution.
“The shame about cases like this, and the one at Merit VFD, was not only what occurred was illegal and shameful, but it causes the public to lose trust in these organizations, which is unfortunate because they do a good and needed service for the public,” Alexander said, adding the Commerce E-Corps completely cooperated with the investigation.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the Tanners were no longer listed as being in custody at the Hopkins County Jail.