Jean Laster Boone in court Tuesday. (Photo by Jim Peeler)
WACO (October 22, 2013)-- McLennan County Pct. 7 Justice of the Peace E. Jean Laster Boone pleaded guilty to two counts of tampering with government records Tuesday in a case involving falsified mileage reports.
She also submitted a letter of resignation to McLennan County Judge Scott Felton.
County commissioners will talk about possible replacements as well as the possibility of eliminating the position altogether during a work session next Tuesday, Felton said.
Prosecutors recommended that she be sentenced to deferred adjudication probation, which means if she successfully completes the term of probation, the conviction will not appear on her record.
She will also be ordered to pay $5,120 in restitution.
She’ll be formally sentenced in December.
"We admitted our problem with the record keeping and we accepted full responsibility and this is part of the process of accepting the responsibility and we look forward to the results of the presentence investigation," Laster Boone's attorney, Thomas West, said after the hearing.
Boone was arrested on Sept. 20 after a closed-door meeting with Texas Rangers and Pct. 1 Pl. 2 Justice of the Peace Pete Peterson at the McLennan County Courthouse and was later released on a $2,500 bond.
The Texas Rangers obtained an arrest warrant for her arrest following an investigation that started this summer into possible discrepancies in the travel reimbursement reports that Boone’s office submitted.
In June, 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 was allowed to 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 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.
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.