Federal Grand Jury Indicts Former Executive Director of Children’s Advocacy Center of Tom Green County, Inc.
Defendant Allegedly Stole More than $237,000 from Center
|U.S. Attorney’s Office August 11, 2011|
LUBBOCK, TX—A federal grand jury in Lubbock returned an indictment yesterday afternoon charging San Angelo, Texas resident Debra Rucker Brown with six counts of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas. Brown is expected to surrender to authorities within the next few weeks.
Brown, 51, served as the executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) of Tom Green County for more than 16 years—from August 1994 through February 2011. The CAC is a non-profit program that operates Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA); Hope House; Family Enrichment Services (FES); and the Child Fatality Review Team (CFRT). CAC’s funding comes mostly from grants and contracts for services, with the balance coming from charitable contributions and money raised through special events it hosts. A significant source of the grant funding is provided by the U.S. government through Department of Justice and Department of Health and Human Services.
According to the indictment, from January 2005 through December 31, 2010, Brown stole approximately $237,013 from the CAC. She submitted and processed fictitious reimbursement forms for items she supposedly purchased for CAC, or one of its programs, and for supposed CAC-related expenses, including travel expenses she and others incurred. She caused CAC checks to be issued to her without any supporting documentation and either deposited the checks into her personal checking account, cashed them or submitted them as payment on her personal credit card accounts.
An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury, and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. If convicted, however, each of the counts carries a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In addition, restitution could be ordered.
The case is being investigated by the FBI and the Texas Rangers. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann C. Roberts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Lubbock is in charge of the prosecution.