A Sam Houston State University professor and nonprofit leader in Walker County is behind bars in Montgomery County after entering a guilty plea to charges of theft and misuse of over $50,000 in funds from the nonprofit Orphan Care Solutions of Texas to purchase items for her home, fund vacations and buy jewelry.
Terri Jaggers, who also serves as president for the Texas Foster Family Association and the Pay it Forward organization on the SHSU campus, was sentenced to three days in jail by Judge Phil Grant on Tuesday. She was taken into custody after the proceeding.
Jaggers is employed in the Communication Studies Department at SHSU as a clinical assistant professor, joining the university in 2008.
"Like many others, we learned of Ms. Jaggers’ activities through news reports,” SHSU officials said in a release. “We can confirm that Ms. Jaggers is employed at Sam Houston State University as a contract faculty member, however, we do not comment on personnel matters.”
According to her bio page on SHSU’s website, “Terri is considered one of Texas’ leading experts in our state’s foster care system.”
Tyler Dunman, special crimes bureau chief for the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office stated that it is unfortunate that Jaggers violated the trust of so many by misusing the funds for “luxury items” and “extravagant trips” for herself.
“There are over 700 children in CPS custody right now in Montgomery County,” special crime bureau chief for the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office Tyler Dunman said, referring to Child Protective Services. “Churches, corporations, and hundreds of individuals have given their hard earned money to Orphan Care Solutions and Terri Jaggers in complete trust that those funds would be used to help the children in foster care in our area. Unfortunately, Terri Jaggers decided to use these funds for her own benefit to purchase luxury items for herself and home and take extravagant trips.”
As part of a plea agreement for the third-degree felony, Jaggers was sentenced to seven years’ probation and a $1,000 fine in addition to the jail time. The court also forced her to resign from all leadership board positions including those on the Montgomery County Child Welfare board and CPS board, Hope’s Path, Pay It Forward and the Texas Foster Family Association.
The agreement also requires her to pay over $90,000 in restitution to the Montgomery County CPS board and formally dissolve Orphan Care Solutions as a nonprofit organization. She will also be required to purchase a $20,000 generator and transfer all tangible property to Hope’s Path, and agree to not serve as a leader in nonprofit organizations or child welfare/ orphan care/ or foster care organizations.
Jaggers has served as president of Orphan Care Solutions since 2013; her husband, Patrick Jaggers, serves as vice president for the nonprofit.
During an investigation by the Montgomery County DA’s office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Texas Rangers obtained bank records, receipts and invoices showing Jaggers purchased many items, including a $20,000 generator for her home, in 2018 that was paid for with funds from Orphan Care Solutions.
Orphan Care Solutions is a collaboration of child welfare stakeholders in Montgomery County including other nonprofits, as well as city and county officials focused on foster care. The group’s work currently extends into Walker, Waller, Liberty, Chambers, Galveston, Harris and Montgomery counties.
Officials with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office say that Jaggers purchased, with Orphan Care solutions funds, a standby Generac generator for her personal home, an outdoor kitchen ($5,742.97) and an outdoor fireplace ($4,226.38) for her home. Records also show that Jaggers purchased a Carnival Cruise, valued at $3,897.61 and a trip to Israel for herself and her husband totaling $9,761.56. She also pled guilty to purchasing at least $1,000 in jewelry for herself with Orphan Care Solutions nonprofit funds.
“All too often, when there is a lack of effective oversight in nonprofits and governmental boards, individuals take advantage of people and resources for their own benefit,” Montgomery County DA Brett Ligon said. “I am confident after these events, the Montgomery County Judge and Commissioners Court will thoroughly review the child welfare board membership, bylaws, and processes for Montgomery County.
“It’s time for a fresh start and new beginning as we all work to ensure the vulnerable children in Montgomery County CPS custody have everything they need to succeed in life.”