James (Jim) Edward Russell and Carla Jean Russell have been indicted by the Gonzales County Grand Jury Tuesday, Nov. 5, each on one count of misapplication of fiduciary property or property of a financial institution in the amount of $30,000 or more but less than $150,000 and one count of theft by public servant also in the amount of $30,000 or more but less than $150,000. The charges are graded as a third-degree felony and second-degree felony respectively.
Both Jim and Carla Russell were initially arrested on June 4, 2018 following a years-long investigation into allegations of misappropriation of Gonzales County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) funds. Jim Russell previously served as the EMS director while Carla Russell was the EMS’ acting bookkeeper. Jim was fired while Carla Russell resigned shortly after their arrests in 2018.
The indictment alleges that between Jan. 2011 to June 2018, the Russells misapplied EMS money for their own benefit by depositing money meant for the EMS and CPR classes into their own personal bank accounts, overpaying themselves or other employees for unworked hours, being paid by other entities while simultaneously being paid by the EMS and mishandling donations to the EMS. These funds—which aggregate value was $30,000 or more but less than $150,000—all came into the Russells possession through their status as public servants.
According to Texas Penal Code, an individual found guilty of a third-degree felony is subject to imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for a term of not less than two years but not more than 10 years. In addition to the sentence, the subject may be fined in an amount not to exceed $10,000. If found guilty of the second-degree felony, an individual would be imprisoned for a term of two to 20 years and subjected to a fine of no more than $10,000.