The Northern Oklahoma Federal Courts in Tulsa, OK are leaving citizens scratching their heads and asking; "Where is the consistency?"
Chief Judge Greg Frizzell just sentenced a man to 30 years for $900 taken in a hold up of a local restaurant. To be fair, Tracy Crawford admitted that he robbed 5 times in a 3-month crime spree. He agreed to a plea wherein he is also ordered to pay $19,000 in restitution.
But in the same Tulsa courthouse, Judge Claire Eagan accepted a plea deal from Rick Brinkley. He pleaded guilty in August 2015 to five counts of wire fraud and one count of signing a false tax return. Brinkley also admitted to embezzling $1.8 million from the Better Business Bureau while heading its Tulsa office.
Crawford used a firearm to intimidate his victims. Brinkley used a briefcase and several fake corporations to fraudulently embezzle nearly $2,000,000 over his 10 years with the Tulsa Better Business Bureau.
The irony is that Brinkley was in charge of an agency whose mission was to demand ethical business practices from the rest of us.
Brinkley is just finishing his prison sentence. He was allowed to stay in the state and serve out his full 37 month sentence at a minimum security facility in El Reno, OK
If Rick Brinkley can get special treatment for being a 'Good 'ol Boy', where does Tracy Crawford apply for that same special treatment?
Brinkley was able to control much of the narrative of his case. There is no mug shot or 'perf walk' video or images. Instead, we have many in-depth interviews where Brinkley tells a sad tale of his addictions.
No one has published a story of Tracy Crawford's life of struggles with either his inner demons or harsh life circumstances. Brinkley's published sentencing terms say nothing of a plan for restitution to the victims. But Tracy Crawford will be forced to pay $19,000.
Some have said that Crawford deserves the harsher sentence because he used the intimidation of violence by bearing a firearm.
The great novelist, Mario Puzo may have said it best;
"A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns."
If this nation is really serious about curbing the massive losses due to crime, we seriously need to re-assess our priorities about "white collar" crimes and the overwhelming losses sustained in our society by the sophisticated class of slick-talking yet shady individuals who ascend to the highest places of honor, while ripping off the rest of us.
I left out that part.. Rick Brinkley was next in line to become the President Pro Temp of the Oklahoma Senate. He was also a senior pastor in a Tulsa County church.