Former state board member, county official faces numerous federal fraud charges

Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 12:22am

A former Gov. Phil Bredesen-appointed member of the state Department of Commerce and Insurance’s Collection Service Board now faces federal charges, including 13 felony counts, related to three different investment schemes.

In March 2011, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation arrested Edward Shannon Polen, on three felony charges of theft, but the full scale of his alleged crimes came into focus on Monday when prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Nashville charged Polen with scamming 74 individual investors and banks out of $8,796,000.

Bredesen appointed Polen to the Collection Service Board, which oversees debt collection agencies in the state, in July 2008. He served a full term, before resigning on April 5, 2011, according to board minutes.

Polen, also a former Robertson County commissioner, is charged with five counts of bank fraud, three counts of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering for operating three investment schemes.

“Despite his assurances to investor-victims of significant returns on their investment … Edward Shannon Polen never intended to invest their funds as promised,” the charges state.

“Instead, [he] intended to use and did use the money invested by the investor-victims to fund trips to gambling casinos, pay off gambling debts, and to repay other investor-victims.”

Bad checks totaling more than $305,000 were issued to investors from Sumner Bank & Trust, Bank of Nashville, U.S. Bank, FirstBank and Fifth Third Bank, according to federal prosecutors.

Polen’s attorney, Patrick Frogge, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The government claims Polen used three schemes to persuade people to give him money:

  • In January 2007, Polen asked friends and individuals for money for the purchase and resale of tractors and other repossessed farm equipment. Polen told investors he needed money to fund the initial investment, but that he would turn a profit after reselling equipment to a “guaranteed buyer.”
  • About a year later, Polen asked for funding for the purchase of construction materials that were going to be resold to government subcontractors who were working on Tennessee’s Greenway projects.
  • In February 2009, Polen solicited funds for the purchase of materials and equipment to be used by contractors associated with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and the coal ash spill clean-up project at the Tennessee Valley Authority Kingston plant.

Polen formerly owned and operated Polen’s Lawn Care in Greenbrier and resigned from his seat as a Robertson County commissioner on April 4, 2011, after more than three years in office. He also served as Chairman of the Robertson County Democratic Party and was a member of the County Emergency Medical Services Committee.

Polen was awaiting trial on his theft charges when the federal charges were filed on Monday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Webb, who is handling the case for the government, also filed paperwork to have Polen brought to the federal courthouse on Broadway for his initial appearance.

4 Comments on this post:

By: spooky24 on 1/11/12 at 6:26

Can you say 'Ponzie'. The Feds don't bring charges like this unless they can prove them so he is toast-well done and burned toast to boot. If you have had any dealings with this guy it might be time to check out the nightlife in Dry Hump South Dakota.


By: RustyACE on 1/11/12 at 6:30

Dear Pierce,

You fogot to mention that a "Democrat" scammed almost $8.8 million.

You have to watch those Fat Cat Democrats.

Madison, TN

By: Nitzche on 1/11/12 at 9:00

Easy Big Fella, only Republicans are greedy, everybody knows that.

By: Little Dummy on 1/12/12 at 10:24

Seems like in Tennessee a new Republican Governor ALWAYS has to clean
up the mess the outgoing Democrat Governor left.