Deputy constables indicted, accused of double dipping

June 25, 2013 4:14:16 PM PDT
Five deputy constables are under indictment and off the job right now. The Harris County District Attorney's Office says they found almost $10,000 worth of double-dipping in two years worth of time sheets.

These lawman are charged with stealing from their own agencies and you, accused of collecting two hours' pay for one hour's work.

The Houston Housing Authority manages 25 public housing developments around the city. And to keep them safe, they hire deputy constables.

Now, the Harris County DA says several of those deputies were allegedly stealing from the taxpayers. According to the DA, they were doing it by being on duty at the same time for two different government agencies.

"It's OK to have two jobs as long as the hours don't overlap," Harris County Assistant District Attorney Michelle Oncken said.

But that is exactly what Oncken says her team of investigators found. When they examined a years worth of time sheets, she says they found deputies from Precinct 6, 3 and 4 allegedly violating the law, defrauding the housing authority and you.

"Who should have caught this over at the housing authority?" we asked Oncken.

"I don't know," she said.

"They have a fraud investigator, right? Why didn't he catch it?" we asked.

"Because he was involved in it," she said.

Yes, Cordell Lindsey, who worked as a sergeant at Precinct 3, was also the fraud examiner for the Houston Housing Authority. He was not charged with double dipping but with aiding and abetting. He was the supervisor who could've caught this but didn't. He was at that job on Tuesday, but may not be much longer. None of the deputies are on active law enforcement duty.

"It's upsetting, and it matters if someone is in a position of trust and violates our trust by doing something like that," Oncken said.

The housing authority says this raises questions about the way they handle their security and will have more to say when they learn more about the case.

Weeks ago, as part of the investigation, the DA also charged five reserve deputies with performing work they weren't legally qualified to do.

Attorney Rusty Hardin told us late Tuesday he's known Lindsey for nearly 15 years and is confident Lindsey didn't knowingly do anything wrong.

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