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TMCNet:  Oklahoma couple charged with embezzlement from town's funds

[November 26, 2012]

Oklahoma couple charged with embezzlement from town's funds

CASHION, Nov 26, 2012 (The Oklahoman - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- A husband and wife who formerly worked for the town of Cashion have been charged with embezzlement after investigations by the state auditor and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation revealed hidden accounts and credit cards in the town's name.

Daniel B. Clark, 44, and Stephanie D. Clark, 42, were arrested Tuesday on the felony charges.

Each has been released on $25,000 bail. Daniel Clark was the Cashion Emergency Services director, and Stephanie Clark was the town clerk-treasurer.

Both the report from the state auditor and inspector's office and the OSBI allege the Clarks stole thousands from the town by drawing paychecks for multiple positions, falsifying timecards and misusing credit cards and PayPal accounts.

The couple bought components for several guns, including a laser sight for a Glock pistol, two crossbows, ammunition for various weapons, a television, dog food, a digital camera with a nine-piece lens kit and a variety of other items, according to the arrest affidavit issued in Kingfisher County.

The affidavit alleges the couple purchased the items for their personal use using town funds.

The investigation into the couple began in 2009 after both were off work because of the death of their 16-year-old daughter in a traffic accident, records show.

The Clarks, who also were emergency medical technicians for the town, which is about 20 miles northwest of Edmond, were the first to arrive at the fatal accident. Kalee Jo Clark, 16, died when a sport utility vehicle driven by another teen crashed into a tree. Kalee was a passenger in the SUV. There were seven teenagers in the vehicle.

In the couple's absence, other town officials discovered irregularities in the town's financial records.

After the town board confronted Stephanie Clark, who was town clerk at the time, over some of the questioned charges, she reimbursed the city for almost $3,000.

A working telephone number for the Clarks could not be found, and they haven't registered an attorney with the courts.

Much of the alleged fraud recorded in the investigations took place between 2007 and 2009.

Daniel Clark received a salary of roughly $2,800 a month for his position as director of emergency services, but he also was paid $1,250 a month for the title of administrator of the town's Emergency Medical Service District.

Additionally, Clark would file for hourly wages as an emergency medical technician. The state audit found that several of the timecards submitted for Daniel Clark were for "on-call" shifts, but use of the town's gas card indicated he was out of town during that time.

The warrant for the Clarks' arrests states Stephanie Clark "knowingly received said false claims ... and generated payroll checks." Stephanie Clark was paid for her role as the town clerk-treasurer, but also received $5,000 annually to be the administrative assistance to the emergency medical service district, and she also was paid for her hourly wage as an EMT, the audit report states.

___ (c)2012 The Oklahoman Visit The Oklahoman at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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