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Former UCDD director faces state theft, forgery, laundering charges
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More problems arose for the former executive director of the Upper Cumberland Development District (UCDD) last week when a Putnam County grand jury indicted her on state charges, including theft over $60,000, forgery and money laundering.Wendy Askins, 52, surrendered to Putnam authorities last Tuesday, and was later released on a $25,000 bond.The latest charges are the result of a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) inquiry into the UCDD case, in which Askins already faces federal charges of conspiracy, embezzlement, bank fraud and money laundering.Both the federal and state cases allege that Askins took money from the Upper Cumberland Development District to use toward the Living the Dream home, a home built as an independent living home for middle income seniors in Putnam County.According to TBI spokesperson Kristin Helm, the charges relate to Askins' creation of a bogus set of minutes to cover up the transfer of $300,000 of agency funds to the Living the Dream facility, an upscale home that was intended to house needy seniors, but apparently became Askins residence.“While employed as the executive director, Askins inserted into the February 16, 2010 Upper Cumberland Development District board meeting minutes a paragraph stating that $300,000 was to be transferred to the Cumberland Regional Development District for an independent living home,” Helm said. “TBI’s investigation revealed that the transfer of funds was never discussed at the meeting.“Askins transferred $300,000 out of the Upper Cumberland Development District account and used the money for the Living the Dream home,” Helm continued. “The home was built to provide an independent living environment to middle income seniors in the area.