Earlier this month, the Oklahoma Criminal Defense blog brought you the story of an Edmond roofer facing embezzlement charges after taking deposits but failing to do the roof repairs promised. Now another Edmond businessman has been charged with embezzlement after failing to complete work contracted by customers. Edmond swimming pool builder Gary Robert Oester, 54, was charged in Oklahoma County with six counts of embezzlement and one count of engaging in a pattern of criminal offenses. According to an investigation, Oester, of Indigo Custom Pools, is accused of taking $60,000 from six customers after contracting to build their swimming pools in Choctaw, Oklahoma City, and Yukon. The customers say that Oester never completed the work, and did not refund their money. Some of the customers say the pool contractor dug holes for the pools, but did not return to finish building the pools. Oester was investigated by the Oklahoma attorney general's office after several customer complaints. Each of the offenses with which he has been charged is a felony. Penalties for embezzlement in Oklahoma vary depending on the value of money or property taken. Embezzlement of less than $500, for example, receives a milder sentence than embezzlement of a greater amount:
- Embezzlement of money or property valued at less than $500 is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to one year in jail.
- Embezzlement of money or property valued at more than $500 but less than $1,000 is punishable by restitution, a fine of up to $5,000, and up to one year in jail.
- Embezzlement of money or property valued at more than $1,000 but less than $25,000 is punishable by restitution, a fine of up to $5,000, and up to five years in prison.
- Embezzlement of money or property valued at $25,000 or more is punishable by restitution, a fine of up to $10,ooo, and up to ten years in prison.