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OILTON, Okla. – The mayor of Oilton was arrested and charged with embezzling thousands of dollars from the city.

Oilton Mayor Patrick Kennedy has been charged with one count of felony embezzlement and two counts of felony making or receiving a kickback.

According to court documents, in October 2016, the mayor discovered there was more than $8,000 left over from a $35,000 loan obtained by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board. If it went unused, the money would be lost.

The loan was meant for improvements to the city’s sewer system.

“He concocted a scheme to hire two people who worked for the Oilton Public Works Authority to do some work, give him an invoice at contractor prices, he would have those approved. He would approve them, and have those paid to these two individuals,” said Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations Public Information Officer Jessica Brown.

She said the two employees then turned around and cashed the checks, splitting the money with Kennedy.

He allegedly received $2,500 from one employee and $2,900 from the other in cash.

However, those two people are now witnesses for the state. They weren’t charged after coming forward with their stories.

“He had dominion over those two and he coerced them into doing this because they might fear for their jobs if they decided not to do it,” Brown said.

Investigators also said the mayor was required to get approval from the city council before making transactions larger than $1,500, which he neglected to do.

According to the affidavit, Kennedy told investigators a project engineer with the OWRB told him that because the money was left over from a loan, he could use it however he wanted. He contends he hired the two men to do work, which he paid them for fairly, and they insisted on giving him back $2,500.

But the OSBI investigators don’t believe his story.

“We have ample evidence, more than ample evidence to arrest him,” Brown said. “We did that.”