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Press Release

Former Nashville Metro Police Sergeant Sentenced to Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Tennessee
Stole More Than $100k During Search Warrantr Executions

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – October 24, 2018 – Former Nashville Metropolitan Police Department (MNPD) Sergeant James Dunaway was sentenced today to two years in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for stealing more than $100,000 during the execution of search warrants, announced U.S. Attorney Don Cochran for the Middle District of Tennessee.

Dunaway, 43, of Old Hickory, Tennessee, was indicted by a federal grand jury on May 2, 2018, and charged with theft from an entity that receives federal program funds and money laundering.  He pleaded guilty to the charges on July 10, 2018.

“When public servants that are sworn to uphold the law violate their oath, they must always be held accountable,” said U.S. Attorney Don Cochran.  “Dunaway made a conscious decision to violate the public’s trust and in doing so, he brought dishonor upon the profession and his department and placed an unnecessary burden on the many honorable men and women who work tirelessly every day to adhere to the highest standards of the profession.  I commend the leadership of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department for taking swift and appropriate action when this matter came to their attention.”

“James Dunaway betrayed the families of Nashville and the men and women of this police department,” said Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson.  “Our sting investigation showed that he greedily and selfishly stole money in a scheme that sickened all of us.  I am grateful to U.S. Attorney Don Cochran and the FBI for agreeing with our request to prosecute Dunaway in the federal system.”

Dunaway was a supervisor in the MNPD Specialized Investigation Division-Narcotics Unit and was responsible, among other things, for monitoring and executing search warrants.          During the execution of search warrants on five separate occasions, he stole a portion of the cash discovered and seized at each location, including:

The November 18, 2015 search of a residence off Pleasant Hill Road in Nashville, where more than $100,000 was seized;

The April 10, 2017 search of a residence off Robertson Road in Nashville, where more than $500,000 was seized;

The April 26, 2017 search of a residence off Pleasant Hill Road in Nashville, where more than $182,000 was seized;

The September 13, 2017 search of a residence off Spencer Enclave Way in Nashville, where more than $70,000 was seized; and

The November 15, 2017 search of a hotel room in which the MNPD Office of Professional Accountability had placed marijuana, $28,000 cash and video cameras for the purpose of conducting an integrity check.  Video cameras captured Dunaway placing money in his pockets during the search and the indictment alleges that Dunaway stole $5,860.00 during the execution of this search warrant.

Between April 11, 2017 and May 8, 2017, Dunaway made approximately $40,540.00 in cash deposits and on May 1, 2017, he obtained a cashier’s check with $42,500.00 cash, which he stole during the searches.  Dunaway then used the cashier’s check to purchase a 2014 Toyota Sequoia.

During the course of this scheme, Dunaway embezzled, stole and converted approximately $109,910.00 to his own use.

In addition to the prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Aleta A. Trauger ordered Dunaway to forfeit the 2014 Toyota Sequoia and to pay restitution in the amount of $80,969.00.

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.  U.S. Attorney Don Cochran and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Beth Myers prosecuted the case.


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David Boling
Public Information Officer

Updated October 24, 2018

Public Corruption