AUSTIN -- A Travis County grand jury has indicted a former executive of the state's $3 billion cancer-fighting agency with fraud for his involvement in improperly awarding an $11 million taxpayer-funded grant.
Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg said Friday that Jerald "Jerry" Cobbs, 62, has been charged with securing execution of a document by deception. It's the first criminal charge following a yearlong criminal investigation into the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT).
The grand jury found that Cobbs committed a first-degree felony when he placed the grant on an agenda for approval before it had undergone required scrutiny. The charge is punishable by five to 99 years or life, and up to a $10,000 fine, which can also include a term of probation of up to 10 years.
According to prosecutors, CPRIT paid out $3.2 million of the $11 million grant before discovering two years later that the application had never been reviewed as required by the agency’s rules.
The state agency was revamped by lawmakers this summer and installed an entirely new governing board.
Cobbs has since resigned.
Attempts by the Associated Press to reach Cobbs or an attorney were not immediately successful Friday.