Brazos County's elections coordinator has been arrested, accused of stealing thousands of dollars from her office, a crime she reportedly confessed to committing.
Jaime Hines, a county clerk deputy, turned herself in to authorities Tuesday on a third-degree felony theft by a public servant charge.
According to County Clerk Karen McQueen, she began an internal investigation in mid-July after finding funds missing from her office's issuing of marriage licenses, which requires a $72 fee. McQueen says she found a lack of receipts and cash missing from the drawer.
After a couple of weeks, McQueen says she took her findings to the Brazos County Sheriff's Office. By the end of the investigation, authorities believe Hines took $17,500 over 3.5 years.
"We have worked diligently with the Sheriff's investigators to give them access to the documents needed for their investigation," McQueen said in a statement. "We are working to implement new procedures to assure that this does not happen again and we will be working with our County Auditor to determine if other actions will be needed."
McQueen says Hines was interviewed by investigators on August 11, then placed on administrative leave until the investigation was completed. McQueen also noted that Hines confessed to the theft.
"Jaime has such a great personality. Always happy, and she does everything I ask her to do. Just to walk in and know she is not going to be there, it's heartbreaking," said McQueen.
The county clerk's office emphasized that all marriages associated with the alleged theft remain valid. All marriage licenses issued were properly filed, McQueen says.
Hines has worked for Brazos County for more than 12 years. She bonded out of jail on $5,000.