Precinct 1 Constable Henry Jackson pleaded guilty to federal charges for not paying four years of income tax, according to newly released court documents.
According to the court, Jackson, 65, and his wife Meraland failed to pay $157,489 in federal taxes from 2010 to 2013. That’s before any additional fines and penalties.
In addition to working as a constable, Jackson also owns rental properties and consults and works for a private security firm - Fail Safe Security. The private company is owned by Jackson’s wife and daughter, court documents show. It has been in operation since 2008.
Jackson has served as Precinct 1 constable since 1999, and prior to that he served with the Tyler Police Department from 1977 to 1983. From 1997 to 1998 he was a reserve deputy for the Constable Precinct 3 office.
In 2010, the Jacksons had a gross income of $220,000, in which no taxes were paid. The IRS concludes $56,403 was owed, after deductions adjustments and credits.
In 2011, the couple took in $115,000, and owed $19,026 in federal taxes.
In 2012, they brought in $180,000, owing $32,825 in unpaid taxes.
In 2013, the Jacksons earned $205,000, and owed $49,235 in federal taxes.
Jackson pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Texas federal court on Tuesday and agreed to a plea deal that is sealed by the court.
Jackson's attorney Michael Heiskell said the charges are misdemeanors, and therefore the charges will not affect his peace officer license.
He could, however, face a license suspension, said Gretchen Grigsby, director of government relations for the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, the agency that issues peace officer certifications.
Ms. Grigsby said TCOLE would evaluate Jackson's license after a final decision is made by the court.
"We will have to look at it as the case proceeds,” she said.
Jackson was re-elected to his post in November 2016 with no opposition, and his term ends December 2020.
The court also sealed an order relating to Jackson’s conditions of release, but did say he was released on a $25,000 unsecured bond - meaning Jackson didn’t have to pay any money to be released.
Public Information Officer Davilyn Wilson with the U.S. Attorney's Office Eastern District of Texas said Jackson was not formally indicted, rather pleaded to information. That means he was presented with the information and decided to plead, instead of taking it to the grand jury.
He has not been sentenced. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled following an investigation by the U.S. Probation Office, according to the federal court.
Under federal statutes, Jackson could face up to a year in federal prison for each of the four counts at sentencing.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Coan.
In May 2008, Jackson was charged with seven felonies and three misdemeanors in Smith County.
The charges included seven second-degree felony counts of tampering with a governmental record as well as three misdemeanor counts of official oppression for alleged sexual harassment.
In the end, Jackson was offered a plea deal where he pleaded no contest to two misdemeanors, a Class A and Class C, and was sentenced to six months deferred adjudication probation. Following the probation, the Class A was to be dropped from Jackson’s record.
He served no time in jail for the two charges, and paid a $100 fine and $1,400 in restitution. He also agreed to a six-month probated suspension of his peace officer license in 2010, before going on to win re-election.
The deal was made under Judge Randall Rogers in the Smith County Court at Law No. 2, according to newspaper archives.
The felony charges, pleaded down to a single misdemeanor, stemmed from alleged false filings made by Jackson regarding his private security company, Fail Safe Security Agency.
According to the indictments, Jackson made false entries about when security officers were hired. The officers had worked for months or even up to a year in some cases before their recorded hire dates, the documents show.
Investigators said deputy constables employed by Jackson's private security firm were wearing their constable uniforms while working for the security company and not the county. They believed Jackson was being paid by the county for the deputies who were already being paid for by the business where they were working security.