July 29, 2020 513 PM
PRESIDIO COUNTY — The Presidio County Sheriff’s Office last week arrested a former Marfa coaching volunteer after authorities say he allegedly stole money from a track club fundraiser and took money for at least one contracting job that never happened.
Craig Jex Hawker, 45, surrendered to authorities last Tuesday and was released on Wednesday after posting $5,000 and $15,000 bonds on the two cases. His defense attorney, Liz Rogers, declined to comment on the case.
The allegations stem from incidents in 2019 or even earlier, and the indictments themselves are from early January. But those court records remained sealed until last week, when Hawker was most recently arrested.
In two separate indictments, prosecutors have charged Hawker with three counts: two counts of theft of property, and one count of misapplication of fiduciary property. All three are felonies, court records show.
First, there was the incident with the West Texas Wind Track Club. After starting as an Marfa athletics volunteer in 2018, Hawker helped set up the club. As a nonprofit, it served Marfa students but wasn’t directly affiliated with Marfa Independent School District.
The club raised money through mobile programs and online sites like GoFundMe and Cash App. They also held a brisket fundraiser and a bake sale. But in June 2019, more than $2,800 of those donations vanished.
The controversy became public that same month, after The Big Bend Sentinel reported on an incident report over the alleged theft. In total, Hawker allegedly stole $2,835 from the club, police records state.
Josh Kelly — a coach at the school — also personally lost $340, which he’d spent on uniforms and was supposed to be reimbursed with club funds. Kelly declined to comment on the case.
Hawker allegedly told a witness that he’d used the money to pay rent and planned to pay it back within days, according to the police report. He was arrested and bonded out for $80, The Big Bend Sentinel previously reported.
Hawker then left for Austin, according to Marfa Police Chief Steve Marquez. He was officially indicted on that charge in January. But “after he was indicted, we had a hard time locating him,” Marquez said.
Hawker’s bond was revoked. In March, authorities did locate Hawker. He reportedly said he would turn himself in to either Marfa police — who had handled the initial investigation — or to the Presidio County Sheriff’s Office, according to Chief Marquez.
But at the time, “he never showed up in either place,” Marquez said.
Meanwhile, Hawker was facing another indictment, also from January. That indictment stems from another alleged scheme, which may have started as early as 2018, court records show.
Ostensibly working as a contractor for Mission Solar Panels, Hawker allegedly billed at least one resident between $2,500 and $30,000 for solar panel installation. But he allegedly took at least four installment checks while “failing to begin installation,” according to that second indictment.
That indictment only names one alleged victim — Teryn Muench — and it’s unclear if there were others. Muench declined to comment, citing the pending case.
Under that indictment, Hawker was charged not only with theft of property but with misapplication of fiduciary property. The second charge means that Hawker allegedly transferred funds for the installation into his personal account rather than keeping it in a separate one, according to a spokesperson for the Presidio County district attorney’s office.
The spokesperson could not provide information on whether Hawker had also allegedly charged other residents for solar panel installations. But those two indictments — one for theft from the track club, the other for theft from Muench — are currently the only two local indictments against Hawker, the spokesperson said.