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Former senator sentenced to 3 years in prison for $1.8 million in fraud, tax evasion

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Former Sen. Rick Brinkley sentenced

TULSA, Okla. – A former Oklahoma senator will serve more than three years in prison for fraudulently obtaining $1.8 million and tax evasion.

On Friday, former Oklahoma State Sen. Ricky Brinkley was sentenced to serve 37 months in prison and pay $1,829,033.

From 1999 to 2015, Brinkley was the CEO before being promoted to COO of the Better Business Bureau. At the time, Brinkley was responsible for paying bills and signing checks on behalf of the BBB.

However, investigators say Brinkley stole $1.2 million by creating fraudulent invoices for services that weren’t provided. Officials say Brinkley also used those funds to pay personal expenses and debts.

Investigators also say Brinkley used his employer’s credit card to make withdrawals at ATMs in casinos.

In addition, Brinkley failed to report $165,625 in income for 2013.

“Unfortunately, we continue to see the public’s confidence in the tax system shaken by individuals such as Mr. Brinkley, who apparently feel they can operate above the law, and skip out on paying their fair share of income taxes,” stated IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Rowe. “Investigating and prosecuting cases involving fraudulent income tax return filing is a vital part of IRS’ enforcement strategy. All income, including embezzled money, is taxable. The Better Business Bureau was not Mr. Brinkley’s personal piggy bank, and today’s sentence sends a positive message to honest taxpayers—a reminder that the justice system works, and that filing a false tax return is a crime that will be punished.”

In 2015, Brinkley pleaded guilty to five counts of wire fraud and one count of subscribing to a false tax return.

While he was a senator, Brinkley represented residents in Owasso, Collinsville, Skiatook, Sperry, Turley and Tulsa.