Court clerk in Port Arthur fired over theft and tampering allegations


Port Arthur City Manager Brian McDougal announced March 16 the termination of an employee accused of theft and tampering with government documents.

Court Clerk Sharon Shelvin was reportedly fired March 12 following an investigation by the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office, with assistance from the Port Arthur Police Department, that uncovered evidence of theft of municipal court fines and tampering with official court documents, McDougal reports in a press release.

"We take seriously any incidence of mishandling of public funds and it absolutely will not be tolerated, which is why we have taken immediate action to remove the employee," said McDougal. "We are reviewing and updating city hiring practices and internal financial controls and will take whatever steps are necessary to prevent a similar situation in the future."

McDougal praised the city's police department and District Attorney Bob Wortham and his staff for their thoroughness and quick response on the behalf of the residents of Port Arthur.

Individuals affected by the situation will be contacted individually by Port Arthur Municipal Court staff regarding those transactions, reports McDougal.

Shelvin will face criminal charges for her actions in the future, said the city manager.

Jefferson County First Assistant Criminal District Attorney Cory Crenshaw confirmed McDougal's assertion, stating in correspondence, "I can confirm that the DA’s Office has received a complaint from the City of Port Arthur regarding a recently terminated employee in the Municipal Court who is alleged to have embezzled funds and altered court records. We are still conducting a criminal investigation, and I anticipate felony charges for both Theft by a Public Servant and Tampering with a Government Record to be filed very soon. Due to the ongoing investigation, this is all I can confirm at this time. 

"I appreciate city officials working with us in our investigation, and I am confident that City Manager McDougal is committed to fundamental change within the city to bring about accountability and transparency which will hopefully prevent and deter future misuse of taxpayer funds."