Local Justice Of The Peace Released After Arrest

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WACO (September 20, 2013)-- McLennan County Pct. 7 Justice of the Peace E. Jean Laster Boone, 59, was being booked into the McLennan County Jail Friday after a closed-door meeting with Texas Rangers and Pct. 1 Pl. 2 Justice of the Peace Pete Peterson at the county courthouse.

McLennan County Justice of the Peace Jean Laster Boone arrived at the McLennan County Courthouse Friday afternoon. (Photo by John Carroll)

Laster Boone was released on a $2,500 bond late Friday evening.

Her release was delayed due to a problem that slowed the facility's computer system.

The Rangers obtained an arrest warrant for her earlier Friday charging tampering with government records.

The Rangers opened an investigation earlier this summer into possible discrepancies in the travel reimbursement reports that Boone’s office submitted, after former employees claimed Boone told them to falsify the mileage on the documents.

In June McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna asked the Rangers to review the records after former employees claimed Boone told them to falsify the mileage on the documents.

Rangers later questioned the employees, who confirmed the incidents, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Boone can claim a maximum of $360 a month in reimbursement for use of her personal vehicle on county business and is paid by the mile.

The affidavit released Friday said one of the former employees told Rangers Boone directed employees “to figure out the miles so she could get the maximum amount.”

“Basically all the mileage was made up and the Judge did not provide any information on her car or the actual miles driven,” the affidavit said.

(Read The Arrest Warrant Affidavit)

Documents obtained earlier by News 10 show that the mileage reports she's submitted for the past year almost all add up to exactly $360 each month.

In several cases, the final odometer reading that Laster reported at the end of the month was as much as 1,000 miles more than the starting reading that appeared on the next month's report.

County Auditor Stan Chambers received copies of e-mails from Laster to the now-former employees directing the workers to prepare daily mileage reports without any proof the miles were actually driven and said he turned those over to the Texas Rangers, as well.

Boone has not commented on the allegations and again refused to comment Friday.

Her attorney, Thomas West said she's cooperating with authorities.

West also represented former McLennan County Tax Assessor-Collector A. F. “Buddy” Skeen, who was released in April from a state jail in Dallas after completing a 180-day sentence.

Skeen was indicted on a series of charges that stemmed from a false statement on a motor vehicle title application and the theft of accessories from a county-owned vehicle that were installed on Skeen's personal vehicle.

He pleaded guilty in September 2012 to charges stemming from the Texas Rangers probe.