The Phillips & Associates Oklahoma Law Blog


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By Dustin Phillips on
April 17, 2017
December 20, 2020

A former Midwest City police lieutenant who was fired after being accused of embezzling city property and pawning it to fuel a gambling addiction has pleaded guilty to several charges.

Lacky Joe Harkins, 46, used an undercover Oklahoma driver's license to pawn multiple items belonging to the city and the police department, including his own two city-issued pistols and a shotgun, a pistol belonging to another Midwest City police officer, a digital camera, and a trailer. Investigators say the trailer had been equipped with a GPS device which was removed before pawning and found later in Harkins's desk. Harkins was also accused of pawning a guitar belonging to a local church. Investigators determined that the former police officer also embezzled $1500 from the Midwest City Police Department's Special Investigation Unit.

On Wednesday, Harkins pleaded guilty to multiple charges, including 22 counts of making a false declaration of ownership to a pawnbroker, four counts of concealing stolen property and one count of embezzlement.

Oklahoma County District Judge Bill Graves sentenced the former police lieutenant to 5 years in prison for conviction of the crimes. He is also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1500 to the Midwest City Police Department and $500 to a local pawn shop.

In his guilty plea, Harkins said that his crimes were committed as a result of his gambling addiction. Since his arrest, he has begun getting treatment for his gambling addiction.

Embezzlement is a crime that is virtually always spawned by some form of addiction: drugs, gambling, shopping. Often, the embezzlement is a result of serious financial difficulty. Those committing the acts often have every intent to pay back the missing money or return the misappropriated property before it is even missed. However, the intent to repay does not mitigate the illegality of the acts, and typically, the embezzlement spirals out of control making it impossible to repay the misappropriated money or property.

Penalties for embezzlement vary depending upon the value of the stolen funds or property. If you have been accused of embezzlement or pawning stolen property, it is imperative to speak with a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Call (405) 418-8888 as soon as possible to talk to an attorney.


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