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August 21, 2015

Okla. Lawmaker Pleads Guilty in $1.8-Million Nonprofit Fraud

An Oklahoma state senator admitted in court Thursday to defrauding a nonprofit business group of more than $1.8 million, The Oklahoman and the Associated Press report. Republican Rick Brinkley resigned from the legislature after pleading guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion in connection with his longtime work with the Better Business Bureau of Tulsa.

Mr. Brinkley served as the bureau's president and chief executive from 1999 to 2011, and then as chief operating officer until he was fired in April amid the embezzlement probe. Under a plea deal, he agreed to repay $1.83 million to the nonprofit, which asserts in a separate civil suit that Mr. Brinkley siphoned the money "to support his lavish lifestyle and gambling habit." An attorney for the former senator said he is undergoing treatment for gambling addiction. Sentencing was set for Nov. 20.