A 70 year old Tulsa man just pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $420,000 from his employer, American Parking. It was largely done through paperwork fraud and approving payments to an account of an unnamed 3rd party. This made BancFirst a named victim and made it eligible for federal courts to punish. He pled guilty and will be sentenced on October 23rd, in Tulsa.
This scenario is very similar to the high profile case of former senator Rick Brinkley, who embezzled $1.8Million from his employer, the Tulsa Better Business Bureau. Over a 10 year period, Brinkley used BBB funds to cover his gambling addiction at Oklahoma Indian Casinos. Those casinos will not be required to return any of the stolen money, that we are aware of.
Brinkley spent just over 3 years in federal confinement and got to stay at a federal prison here in Oklahoma (El Rino). When we break down the scale of crime:punishment, each $100K in embezzlement netted just 2 months of incarceration. It's what we call "the Brinkley standard". If Tulsa federal courts are at all consistent, Jerry Wiley will serve less than 9 months in federal lock up for the entirety of his crimes.
But it's actually worse! Zealand Thigpen is a 68 year old former Metals trader who swindled nearly $5 MILLION from the bank and only got a 33 month sentence, followed by supervised release for the next 5 years. Thigpen blamed Arvest bank for making it too easy for him to cheat them by claiming collateral for a loan, which didn't exist. When bankruptcy reveals the fraud, the bank is left with the debt, which it passes on to the other customers. How's that for a criminal taking responsibility? That's just 33% of the pro-rated prison punishment that Brinkley got! So we ask, "Does the punishment fit the crime?" No, not for the wealthy criminals! They get tiny fractions of the punitive treatment that simple thieves are met with. So Let's tell everyone what the wealthy crooks already know (or at least their lawyers know). Find a federal prosecutor to confess to, and find a federal crime that he can prosecute you for. Because if left up to the state courts of Oklahoma, You will have a much harsher sentence.
Are Oklahomans as evil as our incarceration rate suggests?
- $1,000 to less than $25,000 – a felony with a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison, a $5,000 fine, and restitution.
- $25,000 or more – a felony with a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a $10,000 fine, and restitution.
It also bankrupted our state and caused much of the financial crises of the past decade. At well over $20K per year to house a prisoner, our state was actually punishing the taxpayers along with the wayward individuals whose only real victims might have been themselves. Our drug offenders often violated the "3 strikes" rule that Gov. Keating was so proud of. It doubled and redoubled folks whose drug addictions were never properly overcome.
Oklahoma is still one of the highest incarceration states in the entire world (unless you consider that North Korea is a prison nation). Many of us refuse to believe that Oklahomans are the most evil people in the world. We certainly don't believe that the North Korean citizens are, either.
To sum it up; I guess the Rick Brinkley sentence seems even more absurd because Oklahoma's sentencing standards are so cruelly extreme, compared to the rest of the nation. Our federal govt. has more empathy for wealthy business executives than for petty poor criminals who don't have the access yer, to become the executive white collar criminals, like Brinkley showed himself to be.