TULSA – Former Oklahoma Senator Rick Brinkley of Owasso has been sentenced to spend 37 months in prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud and filing a false tax return.
The judge also ordered Brinkley to pay restitution of $1.8 million and do 50 hours of community service.
Brinkley spoke to reporters following his sentencing. He said he is being punished for what he did and that "I'm going to pay my debt to society and move on." 2 Works for You reporter Max Resnik posted Brinkley's remarks, including why he took the money, on Facebook.
“For the people that I worked with at the Better Business Bureau, I mean, we were family. We loved each other. I don’t know if you noticed or not, but when the sentence was over and we were done, the employees came up and we hugged each other and we talked and those are people who are still my friends," said Brinkley.
The original sentence hearing was postponed at the request of Brinkley's defense attorney, Mack Martin, following the death of his father.
In August, Brinkley acknowledged that he embezzled $1.8 million from the Better Business Bureau of Tulsa. Brinkley had been president and CEO of the nonprofit from 1999 to 2011 and its chief operating officer from June 1, 2011, until he was fired on April 26.
Brinkley entered guilty pleas in Aug. on the six counts against him, including five for wire fraud and one for filing a false tax return.
— Max Resnik (@meresnik) March 11, 2016
“I hope it sends a message to the public that our public officials will be held accountable for illegal acts," said Danny Williams, U.S. attorney.
Brinkley has until April 14 to surrender to prison, which has not been selected.
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