Ex-Bastrop County sheriff employee charged with stealing $58,000 from nonprofit

Cheryl Klaus (Lee County Sheriff's Office Photo)
Cheryl Klaus (Lee County Sheriff's Office Photo)

BASTROP, Texas (KXAN) — A former Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office worker has been charged with felony theft, accused of stealing roughly $58,000 over several years from a nonprofit association that helps sheriff’s office employees, according to a Texas Ranger complaint unsealed Friday.

Cheryl Lynn Klaus, 54, who worked as a records analyst at the sheriff’s office, was also treasurer of the Bastrop Association of Sheriff’s Employees during the time of the alleged theft. A Lee County jailer said Klaus was booked and released Friday morning. Bond was set at $50,000, according to the complaint.

Bastrop County Sheriff Maurice Cook said he “can’t comment on the case. It’s not proper to comment on another agency’s investigation.”

The Texas Rangers began investigating in December of 2017. At that time, a sheriff’s office employee asked Klaus for the association’s bank account records. When Klaus did not turn them over, the employee got the records from First National Bank and found $54,890 in ATM cash withdrawals since the middle of 2012. The account was also charged $456 in fees because the balance fell below $500 several times, according to the complaint.

In an interview on Jan. 18 with an investigator, Klaus “admitted she had been stealing money from BASE since approximately 2012,” the complaint states.

Past association president Curtis Davis told investigators the association was “not very active,” and “not a lot of money should have been coming out of the account,” according to the complaint.

Investigators said they reviewed bank account transactions and found charges at an antique store in Burnet, the University of Texas box office, Designer Shoe Warehouse, Walmart, gas stations and Hobby Lobby.

Davis said he did not authorize those purchases when he was in charge, and there should not have been cash withdrawals from the account, according to the complaint.

The investigator said he obtained surveillance videos showing Klaus making purchases with the association’s debit card and taking money out of a bank ATM on five occasions.

Cook said the association is a nonprofit that is independent of the sheriff’s office.

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