Former Water Department Head Due In Court Next Month

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FAYETTEVILLE, Tenn.(WHNT)-In Tennessee, the fallout continues after the former head of the Lincoln County's water department was indicted and arrested on theft charges.

Prosecutors tell WHNT News 19 that Billy Joe Wiley is due in court for a hearing next month. The former director of the Lincoln County Board Of Public Utilities is charged with stealing at least $60,000 during his time in charge, with customers footing the bill for those expenses even as their water rates went up.

Authorities are revealing little about their case against Wiley, but confirm it is the result of an audit by the Tennessee Comptroller's Office that detailed nearly $300,000 worth of wasteful spending on bonuses. Wiley resigned as director in early 2012, shortly after WHNT News 19 broke a series of stories highlighting financial irregularities at the water department.

Investigators said some of the bonuses Wiley authorized included spying on co-workers and showing up to work on time. But some customers we talked to said Wiley isn't the only one who should be charged.

"I feel like he is the fall guy in all this," said Chuck Patrick, a water department customer. "The rest of the [LCBPU] board was just as much at fault as he was."

"If you're dipping into the drawer, you're dipping into the drawer. It's unacceptable," said Wade Allen.  " It's not right, whether it was a penny, $10, $20, whatever."

Lincoln County District Attorney Robert Carter has recused himself from the case due to a relative's connection with the water department. The Coffee County District Attorney's Office is handling all legal proceedings for the State of Tennessee.

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