Former state worker accused of gambling, buying alcohol on duty

Posted on: 3:10 pm, February 6, 2014, by , updated on: 06:23pm, February 6, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY - A former state employee is facing two felony charges after he allegedly defrauded the state.

The suspect is now charged with multiple felonies.

Those criminal charges, unsealed this week, allege the employee, a worker at the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs, defrauded the state.

The 58-year-old suspect is accused of fabricating his working hours.

“He was claiming to work for the state while running personal errands,” said assistant attorney general Megan Tilly.

Prosecutors claim for two years Johnny Surles used public funds for personal business.

The criminal affidavit claims Surles would claim “He was on duty during the time reported, when in fact he was engaging in non work activities such as gambling at casinos, purchasing a firearm at a shooting sport store and purchasing alcohol at a liquor store while driving a state issued car.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Veterans Affairs could only confirm Surles resigned last year, but the attorney general’s office hopes the case sends a strong message.

“These are taxpayer funds.  Anytime there’s a misuse of taxpayer funds, our office takes that very seriously,” said Tilly.  “Especially here where funds are designated for veterans.”

Surles is officially charged with making a fraudulent claim against the state and obtaining money by false pretense.

Those charges carry a maximum 12 years behind bars.

The suspect is free on a $10,000 dollar bond.