SKIATOOK, Okla. - Former Skiatook Superintendent Gary Johnson and vendor Rick Enos now face a federal charge in connection to an alleged conspiracy that bilked the school district out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In a filing Monday, the federal charge claims Johnson and Enos committed "conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and to corruptly solicit, accept, give and offer things of value."
Johnson and Enos already pleaded guilty to state charges. In July, a judge ordered Johnson and Enos to pay $657,197.21 back to the school district.
Now months later, federal prosecutors charged Johnson and Enos in connection with soliciting and accepting bribes, and filing false federal income tax returns.
Skiatook schools are still recovering after losing thousands of dollars from alleged bribery. That case is closed in district court.
Now federal prosecutors allege Johnson and Enos defrauded the government from May 2004 to July 2010. They say Johnson and Enos made money by inflating prices on supplies and concealed their kickbacks by overbilling the school district. Prosecutors also allege Enos gave Johnson cash and tickets to college football games and paid for travel, food, lodging and entertainment.
2News spoke with the citizens who helped bring the case before a judge the first time around.
"Our town has been pretty well screwed by this man Gary Johnson, at a time when money was very tight," said Windsor Ridenour.
Windsor and his son Rob Ridenour got the ball rolling a few years ago by starting a petition to take the case to a grand jury, after an audit found the school district was overcharged more than $570,000 for janitorial supplies and security equipment by a company owned by Enos.
"I think really the thing to look for now is that there's restitution paid to the school. We're out money. It affects students and school on an every day basis," Rob Ridenour said.
And now, new information has been uncovered. Federal prosecutors say Johnson and Enos communicated using code to hide their conspiracy.
According to the information filed, they used the word "cabinet" to refer to corrupt cash payments of $100, and "large cabinet" for corrupt cash payments of $1,000.
They allege Enos even prepared Johnson's tax returns himself-- leaving out the cash kickbacks.
The Ridenours say they're glad the federal government is also looking into the case. They've seen the damage done.
"The town and the district is still recuperating from it. But we'll survive. It's a tough little town."
If convicted, Johnson and Enos face five years in federal prison. They're scheduled to appear before a judge next Thursday.
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