A former employee of the University of Texas School of Law was arrested, jailed and charged with six counts of tampering with a government record for allegedly falsifying his time sheets, claiming he was working, when he actually traveled to lavish vacation destinations.
Jason Shoumaker was making $80,000 per year as the facilities director at Texas Law, but he was placed on leave in July 2017 and terminated in November 2017 when his bosses began suspecting he wasn’t showing up for work and wasn’t doing his job, according to the May 3 criminal complaint and probable cause affidavit in his case.
It said that Shoumaker, who didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment, stated on time sheets that he worked eight hours because he wanted to be paid for the hours, but in fact wasn’t working at all.
University of Texas spokesman Gary Susswein wrote in a statement that university auditors started investigating Shoumaker over a complaint about questionable spending over at least one year. Auditors looked into his whole work history for the university, even before the questionable transactions at issue. UT hired outside counsel to help. Auditors notified University police, who referred the case to the Travis County District Attorney’s office. The University is improving internal spending procedures because of the incident.
“We take our responsibility as stewards of public dollars extremely seriously. We also continue to work together with the district attorney’s office as it investigates all matters related to this case and appreciate the work they are doing,” wrote Susswein.
Shoumaker was placed on paid administrative leave in July 2017 and terminated in November 2017. In April 2018, the Travis County DA office met with Texas Rangers to present findings and request assistance because of the breadth and complexity of the case. The investigation showed Shoumaker falsely completed time sheets to get “a larger employment separation payout than he was authorized.” There was a subpoena for his bank and credit card accounts.
Another UT Law employee said there were many times she couldn’t find him and she thought he was absent from work. She would cover for him. She believed his absences were connected to a divorce he was going through. She started feeling frustrated about his absences and said she wouldn’t cover for him any longer, according to the affidavit.
She provided text messages with Shoumaker from April 2017 where she asked if everything was OK, and Shoumaker responded that he was on his way to work. His credit card statement actually showed charges from Las Vegas at the time—airfare listing Shoumaker as passenger, taxi rides, meals, a massage, rental vehicle and payment to Wynn Las Vegas Hotel. Later he filled out time sheets saying he worked during those same days.
The Travis County DA’s invesigator met with UT Law Dean Ward Farnsworth who said he ordered Shoumaker to report straight to him starting in April 2016. Farnsworth wanted Shoumaker to report vacations to the HR department to properly record his time, but he failed to do so for the Las Vegas trip.
UT Law’s HR director and Shoumaker emailed back and forth in March 2018 about missing time sheets throughout the duration of his employment that were needed to complete his final payment. Six of those time sheets he submitted indicated that he worked hours when he was actually on trips. In July 2016, for example, his credit cards showed a flight to California, a rental car, cash withdraw, meals and more. Shoumaker had no university business there—he wasn’t working—but his time sheet indicated he was working.
Another time, in November 2016, his financial records showed a trip to Miami with many charges. He filled out his time sheet showing he was working. A similar pattern emerged with trips Shoumaker took to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Port Aransas, Cozumel and Las Vegas.
Shoumaker is facing six charges of tampering with a government record for each of the six allegedly falsified time sheets.
He was booked into the Travis County Jail on May 3 and his bond was set at $40,000 for each of his charges. He’s since been released from jail, fitted with a GPS, and required to surrender his passport.
Angela Morris is a freelance journalist. Follow her on Twitter at @AMorrisReports