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Oklahoma City Criminal Defense Blog

Female employee of Oklahoma tribe charged with embezzlement

A recently released 19-page federal indictment has detailed accusations against a 44-year-old woman from Burnsville. She worked for a Native American tribe as the controller and eventually chief financial officer for some of the tribe's business entities that sought federal contracts. Investigators claim that she redirected tribal funds under the guise of loans or advances that were never repaid. She also gave herself performance bonuses. One totaled $22,500.

At her upcoming arraignment, she will have to respond to charges of theft from a tribal government that receives federal funds and conspiracy to commit theft or bribery. Additional charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in relation to programs receiving federal funds have been applied as well.

Two Oklahoma men charged with federal drug crimes

In late April, two defendants pleaded guilty to federal drug and firearms charges. The pleas were entered in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Oklahoma.

According to media reports, the first defendant, a 40-year-old resident of Tahlequah, was accused of possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute and possessing a firearm and ammunition on or around Nov. 9. He was additionally charged with possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute on or about Feb. 17. As part of a plea deal, he pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute and being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. If convicted, he could face up to 60 years in prison for the possession charges and 10 years in prison for the firearms charge. He could also be fined up to $250,000. The case was investigated by law enforcement agents from the Tahlequah Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the District 27 Task Force.

Man accepts plea deal in Oklahoma marijuana distribution case

One of the couriers for a Tulsa man convicted of running an interstate marijuana distribution operation has accepted a plea deal. A news release from the region's U.S. attorney's office announced that the 54-year-old man entered a guilty plea for aiding a racketeering enterprise through interstate travel. He will be sentenced at his next court appearance. A judge could impose a fine as high as $250,000 and require up to five years behind bars.

The man originally transported cars for the ringleader, who eventually convinced him to transport marijuana to Oklahoma from the West Coast. A traffic stop near Omaha on July 30, 2018, resulted in his arrest after police reported finding 200 pounds of marijuana in his trailer. A U.S. attorney said that the suspect may get sentenced to federal prison for getting "caught up in the wrong game."

Oklahoma medical marijuana laws get overhaul

Marijuana laws around the country have been changing. Oklahoma is no different. In 2018, voters approved the legalization of cannabis for medical use. Since then, the marijuana landscape in this state has undergone rapid changes.

The changes continue, too. For instance, even though medical marijuana is legal, recent legislation has put additional limits on its possession and use.

Guilty pleas in college admissions scam

Oklahoma residents have probably heard about the college admissions scandal involving affluent families and might want to know more details. Several families have been charged in relation to allegations that they used practices like bribery and fraud to get their children into top U.S. colleges. Stars like Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are among the parents involved, and Felicity Huffman is one of 14 defendants pleading guilty to honest services mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

The 56-year-old Huffman is an Oscar- and Academy Award-nominated actress, who starred in the TV shows "Desperate Housewives," "TransAmerica" and "American Crime." Huffman is now making headlines for allegedly paying $15,000 to cheat on a college entrance exam for her oldest daughter. Huffman and her husband, fellow actor William H. Macy, reportedly considered cheating again to get their youngest daughter into college but did not.

Attorney Avenatti faces extortion, embezzlement charges

Some people in Oklahoma may have heard about the attorney for Stormy Daniels, Michael Avenatti, being taken into custody on federal charges in two different cases. One deals with embezzlement and the other with extortion.

In the latter case, Avenatti is accused of trying to extort as much as $25 million from Nike. Allegedly, Aventatti demanded the money from the company in exchange for his silence about what he says is corruption in their youth basketball program. Avenatti fought back on Twitter with the accusation that the company illegally paid youth players to attend universities funded by Nike. Although he has produced no evidence, he claims to have some.

Judge gives Paul Manafort lenient sentence for tax and bank fraud

Oklahoma is physically distant from the courtroom where Paul Manafort received his sentence, but the judge described Manafort's criminal activities as theft from all taxpayers. The judge chose to apply a relatively light sentence to President Trump's former campaign chairman for convictions on five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of not declaring a foreign bank account. His 47-month sentence fell short of the sentencing guidelines that called for a prison term between 19 and 24 years.

The federal judge explained his decision to sentence to Manafort to just under four years by saying that people convicted of similar crimes had been given shorter sentences. In addition to prison time, the court obliged Manafort to pay a $50,000 fine and $24.8 million in restitution.

Why are small businesses inclined to embezzlement?

When you own a small business, you are investing in your livelihood and future. The last thing you want is to lose your investment through the capsizing of embezzlement. Anyone associated with your business may turn against what is in the best interest of its clients. When backs are turned, that person might take advantage of pre-established trust.

Sometimes, small businesses are accused of embezzlement when in fact they are innocent to the accusations formed against them. What is important to understand is that a recent survey showed 80 percent of embezzlement charges were made against small businesses. Why are small businesses more inclined to embezzle money?

Tulsa pair charged with drug trafficking after raid

On Feb. 26, a man and a woman were arrested and charged with drug trafficking, according to an announcement by the Oklahoma attorney general. The defendants were allegedly stashing a large amount of drugs in their southeast Tulsa home.

Officers from the Tulsa Police Department executed a search warrant at the home and uncovered almost 4 pounds of marijuana, 3 pounds of ecstasy and almost 2 pounds of methamphetamine. They additionally found assault-style firearms and other guns, digital scales and various items of drug paraphernalia.

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