GARVIN COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – An Oklahoma attorney, who was formerly appointed by Governor Stitt to help hospitals deal with a surge of COVID Patients is now in legal trouble.
Matt Stacy, 43, is facing a 13-count indictment from the state’s multi-county grand jury.
Court documents show Stacy, who is a Lt. Colonel in the Oklahoma National Guard, acted as an adviser “to international drug trafficking organizations engaged in industrial-scale black-market marijuana manufacturing and trafficking.”
Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Agents also said Stacy is a “registered agent for approximately 310 LLC’s” that have received or attempted to obtain licenses to commercially grow and sell medical marijuana.
Drug agents said Stacy would help out-of-state clients illegally jump into the business here, by paying an Oklahoman to partner as a “ghost owner.” That’s a way of getting around a state law requiring an Oklahoma Resident to own 75% of a grow operation. Court documents show one out-of-state grower paid Stacy $60,000 for this service.
“That’s what as lot of these consultants say,” said Mark Woodward with the OBN. “’I can help you with some of these, you know, challenges that you’re going to face if you come to Oklahoma and hire me on as your attorney or your broker.’”
One ghost owner told agents she made $50,000 a year, no work required.
Their sole role in the whole thing is just to go to their mailbox and get a check,” said Woodward. “Many of them have later found out that these same consultants and law firms are now putting their names on 20 to 50 to over 200 licenses.”
Woodward said criminal charges could follow the ghost owners.
“They absolutely can be charged and they are being charged with felonies. And so hopefully that will send a message to these people who think it’s easy money,” said Woodward.
Woodward said there are hundreds more investigations just like this underway.
“We’re really just scratching the surface,” said Woodward.
Stacy is also politically well-connected.
Governor Kevin Stitt appointed him to his COVID-19 response team. He no longer has that role. He also donated the maximum, $2,900, to Stitt’s re-election campaign.
“This is egregious and troubling, and there is no question Oklahoma’s marijuana legalization referendum created far too many opportunities for fraud, which is why Governor Stitt has been working with the legislature to strengthen law enforcement’s ability to track and stop bad actors. It’s terrible what is unfolding from a high ranking official in the Oklahoma National Guard, and we will be donating Lt. Colonel Stacy’s past primary contribution to charity.” Said Donelle Harder with the campaign.
Stacy also supported Attorney General John O’Connor’s Re-election efforts.
“The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics conducted the investigation into allegations that Oklahoma law regarding medical marijuana licenses was circumvented. OBN presented the results of the investigation to the multicounty grand jury which returned the indictment,” said Rachel Roberts, the Director of Communications for the AG’s Office. “Attorney General O’Connor was never involved in any element of the investigation or grand jury proceedings. No political contribution shields anyone from the consequences of criminal conduct.”
News 4 also obtained the following statement from Matt Stacy’s Attorney, Joe White.
“Matt and his firm have been in regular communication with the OBNDD for three years – discussing, debating and complying with the agency’s ever-changing interpretations of the statutes and rules that must be met for licensure.
Matt’s transparency and adaptability with OBNDD reflect who he is as a person. He has 23 years in the Oklahoma Army National Guard and the senior intelligence officer. He is the recipient of two Bronze Stars and has served multiple tours in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Ukraine.
He believes strongly in the Constitutional and statutory lawmaking process and has always worked within the bounds of the law, as it is written when advocating and representing for his clients. Anytime Matt has taken a legal position or approach that encountered resistance he has asked for agency clarification, most times without response.
However, this industry and the professionals that support it have been left to operate in a regulatory environment that is inconsistent and arbitrary.”