County Not Changing ‘Cash Only’ Policy After Employee Arrested For Theft

By: Rashi Vats Email
By: Rashi Vats Email

The Brazos County Clerk's office says they are not changing a policy that some say could have prevented thousands of dollars from being stolen from the county.

A couple of weeks ago, the Brazos County Deputy Clerk and elections coordinator, Jaime Hines, confessed to stealing thousands of dollars in marriage license fees according to the Brazos County Sheriff's Department.

If you want to get a marriage license in Brazos County, you have to pay $72 cash. About $17,500 in cash from marriage license fees was taken by Hines according to the Brazos County Sheriff's office.

The cash-only policy isn't changing according to Karen McQueen, the Brazos County Clerk.

"When someone graduates, or it is end of school, they come in, they get married, they close their accounts and they are off to their new life, their new job. We have trouble tracking people down once they move,” said McQueen. "We are personally liable to pay that fund back."

We called other counties like Bell and Washington who say they have other payment options for marriage licenses like credit card and checks.

Brazos County seems to be the exception.

McQueen says she understands the risks of the ‘cash-only,’ but she says,” that's the risk we will take."

There are other policies that are being added. For example, clerks are required to write their name on each receipt for funds collected when someone purchases a marriage license.

“The auditors are helping us come up with additional steps in the procedures that we have done. We have started down that road to make sure this doesn't happen,” said McQueen.

The county clerk says the county might look at accepting credit cards and checks in the next fiscal year.

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