Investigations uncover misuse of university funds; former employee arrested

Investigations by Vanderbilt University and the Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County’s district attorney general’s office have led to the arrest of a former Vanderbilt employee on a charge of theft of university funds.

The university is not disclosing the exact amount at this time but says it is substantial.

Working with the Montgomery County, Ark., Sheriff’s Office, federal marshals took Jason Hunt into custody Jan. 13. Hunt has waived extradition and will be returned to Nashville to face the charge.

The university began its investigation in October after it received information of possible misuse of law school funds. Based on the internal investigation, university officials in late November contacted the district attorney general’s office, which undertook its own investigation.

“As soon as we became aware of the situation, we aggressively investigated,” said University General Counsel David Williams. “And once we confirmed the misuse, we turned the case over to the district attorney general’s office for criminal prosecution, and we have cooperated fully with them in their investigation. That cooperation involved keeping a tight lid on what information could be shared with the rest of the law school and the university. We will continue to take our lead from the DA’s office as this matter works its way through the judicial system.”

Hunt’s employment with the university was terminated shortly after the university completed its internal investigation. As administrative services manager for the law school, Hunt’s responsibilities included initiating and processing financial transactions.

As a result of the case, the university immediately strengthened its controls to prevent a similar situation from occurring.

Law School Dean Chris Guthrie said, “We have a trusting community, and our trust has been betrayed. Though we are extremely disappointed, we have a strong school and we will move forward. The examination of how this occurred and what steps are needed so that it doesn’t happen again will make us even stronger.”

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