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Former police sergeant pleads guilty to theft, money laundering

Staff Reports • Jul 10, 2018 at 1:53 PM

A former Metro Nashville police sergeant pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to theft from an entity that receives federal program funds and money laundering.

U.S. attorney Don Cochran of the Middle District of Tennessee announced Sgt. James Dunaway’s guilty plea after an investigation revealed Dunaway embezzled and stole about $109,910.

A federal grand jury indicted Dunaway, 43, of Old Hickory, on May 2.

On Nov. 15, Dunaway was caught on a surveillance camera that was part of an integrity check by Metro Nashville police office of professional accountability, which placed $28,000 cash and marijuana in a hotel room. Dunaway put the money in his pocket, which totaled $5,860, according to the indictment.

Dunaway admitted during the plea hearing that on five separate occasions, he stole a portion of the cash discovered and seized at each location during the execution of search warrants.

He also admitted that from April 11, 2017 to May 8, 2017, he made about $40,540 in cash deposits and May 1, 2017, he got a cashier’s check with $42,500, which he stole during the searches. Dunaway then used the cashier’s check to buy a 2014 Toyota Sequoia, which he must forfeit as a part of his plea agreement, along with and total restitution in the amount of $109,910.

Dunaway faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine and will be sentenced Oct. 24, 2018. Dunaway was a 16-year police department employee.

The FBI and Metro Nashville police investigated the case.  Cochran and assistant U.S. attorney Ryan Raybould served as prosecutors.

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