An Oklahoma state senator pleaded guilty on Thursday to charges of using his senior position with the Better Business Bureau of Tulsa to embezzle nearly $US2 million from the organisation, court officials said.
Rick Brinkley, a Republican, was charged with five counts of fraud relating to the scheme and one count of filing a false tax return, according to the documents filed on Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma.
“We will recommend prison time,” U.S. Attorney Danny Williams told a news conference. Sentencing is set for Nov. 1.
Each fraud count is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, he said. Prosecutors said he used the money to pay his mortgage, credit card bills and for gambling at casinos.
Defence attorney Mack Martin told reporters Brinkley decided to plead guilty because it was in the best interest of his family and friends. He also resigned from the state Senate.
“Defendant Brinkley devised and intended to devise a scheme and artifice to defraud the BBB and obtain money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representation, and promises,” the indictment said.
Brinkley, a state senator since 2010 who is the vice chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has not commented on the charges.
He worked for the Better Business Bureau for more than 15 years and is accused of diverting funds from the organisation into his personal accounts. He is also suspected of using BBB credit cards for personal expenses, the indictment said.
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