Oklahoma Tax Commission Grand Jury Report

News Release 05/07/2003
Oklahoma Attorney General Office

A final report issued by the Multicounty Grand Jury does not signal the end of the state's Tax Commission investigation, Attorney General Drew Edmondson said today. The Grand Jury issued its final report this afternoon before adjourning after 18 months of service.

The Grand Jury also named one person in a sealed indictment returned late Tuesday and one person in a sealed indictment returned today. Edmondson said the indictments will be unsealed at 10 a.m. May 12 before District Judge David Harbour. The attorney general said both indictments relate to the Tax Commission investigation.

"We hope to have a new Grand Jury in place by the middle of summer," Edmondson said. "This group of grand jurors did a fantastic job and we will continue their work investigating allegations of wrongdoing at the Tax Commission."

The Grand Jury spent much of its time focusing on charges of bribery and kickbacks among Tax Commission employees and service agents. View more

"During its Tax Commission probe, the Grand Jury returned nine indictments containing 99 separate counts against 16 individuals," Edmondson said. "In this investigation alone, the Grand Jury issued 838 subpoenas and heard from 79 witnesses."

Of those indicted in the Tax Commission investigation, six were Tax Commission employees, one a tag agent and the remainder service agents doing business with the commission. The alleged crimes included; bribery, racketeering, preventing a witness from giving testimony, conspiracy against the state, perjury, making a false or fraudulent application to the OTC, obtaining money by false pretenses and making a false or fraudulent claim to the state.

According to the final report, the Grand Jury found, "serious deficiencies and at times blatant disregard for state statutes, regulations, and policies and procedures, in the following areas: the lack of regulation regarding the supervision of employees; the lack of regulation regarding disbursement of state funds to employees for travel; the accepted and often times ignored instances of criminal wrongdoing by its employees; the culture which developed and was allowed to thrive due to the lack of training and supervision that created an environment ripe for corruption by its employees and service agents doing business with the OTC."

"While the jurors focused much of their time on the Tax Commission scandal, they also assisted 17 county sheriff's offices, 49 municipal police departments, 14 district attorneys offices, three drug task forces and numerous state and federal investigative agencies including the U.S. Marshal Service, U.S. Secret Service, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, State Fire Marshal and Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drug Control," Edmondson said.

In total, the Grand Jury issued 2,120 subpoenas, heard from 198 of witnesses, returned 10 indictments containing 115 separate counts against 17 individuals. The Grand Jury met for 37 days over 15 sessions.

This was the eighth multicounty Grand Jury to be empaneled.

"I applaud the grand jurors for their hard work," Edmondson said. "Many of the cases brought before this Grand Jury were complex, and that is especially so with the Tax Commission investigation. I appreciate their commitment."

Edmondson's office administers the Grand Jury and is conducting the Tax Commission investigation in conjunction with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

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