Cookeville Fire Dept. captains indicted

An investigation by Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has resulted in the indictments of former Cookeville Fire Captain Marvin Montgomery and current Cookeville Fire Captain Shawn Roberson.

Both Montgomery and Roberson not only worked at Cookeville Fire Department, but they also worked as part-time instructors at Tennessee Fire and Codes Enforcement Academy in Bell Buckle.

Investigators allege that Montgomery and Roberson effectively double-dipped on their paychecks. They were each paid by both the city and the Academy for working the same hours at both locations.

Montgomery allegedly obtained $32,212.75 in compensation from the Cookeville Fire Department that he was not entitled to. The investigation revealed that between January 1, 2017 and February 28, 2019, Montgomery claimed pay for 1,345 hours that he did not work.

After the investigation began, Captain Montgomery retired from the fire department. At the time of his separation, the city collected $16,094.40 from Montgomery’s accrued leave balance. An unpaid balance of $16,118.35 remains due to the city.

Roberson allegedly improperly obtained $2,622.53 from Cookeville Fire Department for 109.5 hours he did not work. This occurred between January 1, 2017 and February 28, 2019 when Roberson was serving as a lieutenant.

In May 2021, Putnam County Grand Jury indicted Marvin Montgomery on one count of theft over $10,000, and Joseph Shawn Roberson on one count of theft over $2,500.

“Management oversight is an important component in preventing improper compensation,” said Comptroller Jason Mumpower. “Supervisors and managers must carefully review timesheets and leave requests to ensure employees are only being paid for the time they are actually working.”

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

Anyone who suspects fraud, waste or abuse of public money in Tennessee may call the Comptroller’s toll-free hotline at 800-232-5454, or file a report online at tncot.cc/fraud.