TULSA, Okla.—Former Oklahoma State Senator Ricky L. Brinkley was sentenced today to serve 37 months in federal prison for fraudulently obtaining over $1.8 million dollars from the Better Business Bureau and for tax evasion. In addition to the prison term, United States District Court Judge Claire V. Eagan ordered Brinkley to pay $1,829,033.86 representing proceeds of the wire fraud scheme.
United States Attorney Danny C. Williams Sr. of the Northern District of Oklahoma; FBI Special Agent in Charge Scott L. Cruse of the Oklahoma City Division; IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge R. Damon Rowe of the Dallas Field Office; and Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Director Stan Florence made the announcement.
“Today’s sentencing is the result of a joint effort by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the IRS-CI, and the OSBI, to ensure that justice was served. The former senator will now face the consequences of his actions for betraying the public’s trust that was placed in him,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “My office will vigorously pursue and hold public officials accountable by seeking criminal charges when the facts and the law support it. I commend our law enforcement partners for their investigative work, and the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who successfully prosecuted the case.”
“I am pleased with the final result in the sentencing of Ricky L. Brinkley and want to express my sincere gratitude to U.S. Attorney Danny Williams and his team of prosecutors whose professionalism and hard work ensured that justice was served in this matter. I also want to thank Director Stan Florence of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation as well as SAC R. Damon Rowe of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service for the cooperative spirit in which they joined with the FBI in the investigation of this important case,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Cruse. “It is our hope that Ricky Brinkley’s sentencing will serve as a warning to anyone who may be thinking about padding their income by stealing from their employer. There are consequences for criminal activities of this nature and we will continue to work closely with all of our law enforcement partners to catch these criminals and bring them to justice.”
“Unfortunately, we continue to see the public’s confidence in the tax system shaken by individuals such as Mr. Brinkley, who apparently feel they can operate above the law, and skip out on paying their fair share of income taxes,” stated IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Rowe. “Investigating and prosecuting cases involving fraudulent income tax return filing is a vital part of IRS’ enforcement strategy. All income, including embezzled money, is taxable. The Better Business Bureau was not Mr. Brinkley’s personal piggy bank, and today’s sentence sends a positive message to honest taxpayers—a reminder that the justice system works, and that filing a false tax return is a crime that will be punished.”
On August 20, 2015, Brinkley, 54, of Owasso, Oklahoma, pleaded guilty to five-counts of wire fraud and one-count of subscribing to a false tax return. Brinkley represented the 34th District, including Owasso, Collinsville, Skiatook, Sperry, Turley, and Tulsa.
From August 2, 1999 to April 26, 2015, Brinkley was employed as the President and Chief Executive Officer and then the Chief Operations Officer of the Better Business Bureau. During his employment, Brinkley was responsible for the operation, accounting, and financial management including paying bills and signing checks on behalf of the Better Business Bureau.
From November 2005 to February 2015, Brinkley diverted in excess of $1.2 million dollars through the creation of fraudulent invoices for services not rendered, and improperly represented these invoices as reimbursement for legitimate expenses. He fraudulently signed checks, transferred, used, and disbursed funds to pay personal expenses and debts including mortgage payments, expenses for pool cleaning services at his home, and his personal American Express, Discover, and Visa cards.
Furthermore, Brinkley used his employer’s credit card to make cash withdrawals at automated teller machines located within casinos to support his gambling habit and he would also create and process for payment false invoices using company funds for payment.
In addition, Brinkley failed to report approximately $165,625 in income for tax year 2013 to the Internal Revenue Service.
The case was investigated by the FBI, the IRS-Criminal Investigation, and the OSBI; and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Clinton J. Johnson, Shannon Cozzoni, and Catherine Depew.