Texas A&M Secretaries Indicted
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) _ Two secretaries working for Texas A&M University were indicted Thursday on felony record-tampering charges.
Vickie Running and Sasha Walters falsified purchase vouchers and altered state records given to a news reporter, according to the indictments returned by the Brazos County grand jury.
Mrs. Running and Mrs. Walters work for the Texas A&M System Board of Regents.
″We are shocked and disappointed that this action has occurred,″ the A&M System said in a statement that pledged cooperation with authorities.
Brazos County District Attorney Bill Turner said the university system continues to be investigated by the Texas Rangers and FBI, and indicated more indictments were possible.
″Both agencies anticipate that further presentations will be made to the grand jury,″ Turner said.
Mrs. Walters was on vacation and Mrs. Running was attending to other matters and wasn’t in the office Thursday, A&M spokeswoman Jo Powell said. A phone call to Mrs. Running’s home was not immediately returned.
Ross Margraves, chairman of the Board of Regents, said he had spoken with Mrs. Running and described her as ″devastated.″
″I’m greatly saddened that it’s come to this,″ Margraves said. ″I’m disappointed. I can’t tell you how devastating it is to me and all the Board of Regents.″
Margraves, who also is being investigated, said he was confident the secretaries would be cleared.
Mrs. Running, secretary to the Board of Regents, was charged with eight counts of falsifying government documents by misrepresenting alcohol purchases as purchases of food and soft drinks.
She has worked for the university for 13 years and manages day-to-day operations of the board.
Mrs. Walters, an administrative secretary to the board, faces seven counts alleging the same conduct. She prepares and distributes meeting information and maintains payroll and fiscal records. She has worked at the university for four years.
A separate indictment alleges that both women presented altered state vouchers to a reporter in an effort to hide the source of income used to purchase the alcohol.
Mrs. Walters and Mrs. Running could each face up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted. A&M police director Bob Wiatt said they had agreed to surrender to authorities Friday.
The Texas Rangers launched an investigation last September after allegations were made against Margraves in an anonymous letter. The letter accused Margraves of orchestrating A&M business deals so he could personally profit.
Among the deals questioned in the letter was a $10 million contract signed in 1990 with Barnes & Noble Bookstores Inc., giving the New York-based company rights to run the campus bookstore.
The Associated Press reported that Margraves and A&M Vice President for Finance and Administration Robert Smith had taken trips to New York that included limousine service, luxury hotels and Broadway show tickets paid for by the company while details of the contract were being worked out.