November 29, 2020

Former District Commissioner candidate charged with theft, fraud, and forgery

(Franklin) – A local man was arrested Monday after allegedly cashing social security checks of his deceased mother-in-law for the last four years.

Tommy Chatman, 56-years-old, of Franklin is charged with 44 counts of Theft By Taking, 44 counts of Deposit Account Fraud, and 44 counts of Forgery In The Third Degree.

According to Heard County Sheriff’s Department investigator Ken Hester, the Sheriff’s Office was made aware recently that someone was picking up the checks from a Franklin Post Office Box still listed under the name of Mary Sheets.

Sheets passed away in 2009 and at the time was receiving widow benefits from her deceased husband.

Tommy Chatman

Tommy Chatman

After contact with the Social Security Administration, two special agents were sent in to investigate further and discovered that Chapman was allegedly depositing the checks into his account at Certus Bank in Franklin.

According to Hester, Chatman confessed to all of the crimes during a recent interview at the Sheriff’s Office.

The checks that were deposited into Chatman’s account totaled $68,210.50.

Chatman was the losing candidate in the District 3 Heard County Commissioner’s race last year. He was defeated by incumbent Gwen Caldwell.

Stay tuned to for further updates as they become available.

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