Panola County Elections Administrator Cheyenne Lampley and another staff member at the courthouse, Extension Office Secretary Belinda Curry, were arrested Thursday and are accused of misusing funds from a 4-H account, according to the Panola County Sheriff’s Office.
Lampley, 42, of Beckville and Curry, 46, of Carthage are charged with theft of property worth between $2,500 and $30,000. Curry was also arrested on a charge of forgery of a financial instrument.
Both women were released on bond Thursday, with Lampley’s set at $3,000 and Curry’s at $6,000.
Panola County Sheriff Kevin Lake said they were recently made aware of the possibility of misused funds from a local 4-H account, discovered by organization sponsors.
“During the course of the investigation, investigators discovered that numerous checks from a local 4-H account had been written without consent from the account holder’s organization,” Lake said. “There was also a check from another local 4-H account that was alleged to have been forged and passed by the suspects.”
Lake said two courthouse employees had been in possession of the 4-H club’s checkbooks and were responsible for issuing checks to the organizations as needed.
Because county courthouse employees were the suspects in the case, the Texas Rangers were contacted to proceed with the investigation. Lake said Texas Ranger Jenkins conducted his investigation and filed the arrest warrants on Thursday morning, with Lake saying the suspects then surrendered themselves to authorities on Thursday afternoon.
Lampley and Curry have both resigned from their courthouse positions, and the Panola County Commissioners’ Court is set to accept those resignations and appoint Deputy Elections Administrator Loretta Mason as the new Elections Administrator at their Tuesday meeting.
This story is being updated.