Arrest affidavits obtained by CBS 19 detail the accusations that lead to the arrest of Panola County Sheriff Ron Clinton. The affidavit covers a three month period in which Clinton is accused of accepting a cash advance from the county, failing to pay it back and then coming up with a scam in which the county ultimately paid itself to resolve Clinton's debt.
Texas Ranger Brent Davis wrote that the problem started last November before Clinton took office--when the county gave him nearly $900 to go to a school in Austin for new sheriffs. Then in January the county asked for receipts showing what Clinton spent the money on and the auditor wanted whatever wasn't paid back.
According to the affidavit, on that same day Clinton asked for money from a forfeiture and seizure account to repay the debt but county auditor denied the request.
One day later Clinton allegedly took $1,000 dollars out of a fund ear marked for paying confidential informants. Within hours, Davis said Clinton repaid his original debt--the money owed back to the county for the sheriff's school. The informant's fund is allegedly still $1,000 dollars short.
At the Sheriff's Office, Chief Deputy Kevin Lake said he's the one running things for the time being. He said any questions we had would have to go through the Texas Rangers. He also said the sheriff isn't coming in to work while this is under investigation.
A statement released by the sheriff's department said: "We want to ensure the citizens of Panola County that the operations within the sheriff's office remain functioning. Our number one priority is the protection of and service to our citizens."
No one answered the door or the phone at Clinton's home Monday.
Ranger Davis said Clinton tried to bribe a local criminal named James Ingram to say he was the one who got the confidential informant money.
The only problem was, according to the affidavit, Ingram decided he didn't want to lie so he came clean about the alleged bribe and the sheriff went to jail.
The affidavit says the sheriff found out about Ingram coming clean to investigators and then tried to get him to sign a statement saying Ingram was lying to them. It's not clear whether Ingram agreed to sign it.
Clinton is charged with abuse of official capacity, tampering with government records and theft by a public servant.
He's out of jail on a $50,000 bond.