KOKI - Tulsa
State Senator Rick Brinkley pleaded guilty to federal charges on Thursday morning.
He pleaded guilty to five counts of wire fraud and tax evasion.
Several agencies charged an Oklahoma senator in an embezzelment investigation on Thursday. The US Attorney of the Northern District, Danny Williams Sr., held a news conference with the FBI, the Criminal Investigation unit of the FBI and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to announce charges against Rick Brinkley.
FOX23's Lynn Casey attended the conference:
Officials announced five federal wire fraud chages involving money from the Better Business Bureau. Brinkley also faces a count of tax evasion for hiding part of that money from the IRS.
Investigators linked the embezzlement to a significant gambling probelm. Brinkley could face 20 years in prison for the wire fraud and three years on tax evasion. No one else is being investigated.
Brinkley resigned in early August amid allegations of embezzlement at the nonprofit agency he where he once worked. He settled with the agency in an agreement with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission. His resignation would have gone into effect Dec. 31.
The senator resigned effective immediately on Thursday morning.
The immediate resignation was encouraged by Oklahoma State Auditor Gary Jones, who said "It's one thing to ive him the benefit of the doubt."
"It's another when he admits guilt," Jones said. "He's not serving his constituents and needs to come off the state payroll now."
Brinkley could still face state charges.
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