AUSTIN (April 13, 2013)--The top aide to a Central Texas state legislator is free on bond after his indictment on 11 counts of record tampering.
John Higgins Jr. is chief of staff to state Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt, a Lexington Republican.
The Wednesday indictment by a Travis County grand jury in Austin accused him of receiving more than $9,000 in travel reimbursements for trips he didn't take.
Higgins also is charged with securing execution of a document by deception.
If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 2 years in state jail for each count.
Higgins is free on $10,000 bond. His attorney, Sam Bassett of Austin, blamed the irregularities on "mistakes" and said there was no criminal intent.
Kleinschmidt said he was "saddened" by the indictment and has suspended Higgins.
Lexington is about 33 miles south of Cameron.