The mayor of Eufaula, Oklahoma, appeared before two judges last week as a result of a DUI arrest and embezzlement allegations. In the first appearance, Mayor Dean Smith pleaded guilty to charges stemming from his DUI arrest, including misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence, transporting an open container of alcohol, and failing to obey a traffic signal.
Smith's Oklahoma DUI lawyer did not reach a deal with prosecutors in exchange for the guilty plea, and Smith was given a one-year deferred sentence and ordered to undergo drug and alcohol assessments and pay a $900 fine. In Smith's second appearance before a judge later the same day, he was ordered to stand trial on four felony counts of embezzlement by a public officer.
The charges stem from allegations that Mayor Smith used his position as a city official to obtain about $200 in city money. Allegedly, Smith used a city credit card to purchase gasoline and was later reimbursed for the purchases. One day after embezzlement charges were filed against him, Mayor Smith suspended Eufaula Police Chief Don Murray.
Embezzlement in Oklahoma
Smith says that disciplinary action against the police chief was unrelated to the embezzlement investigation. He later asked the city council to review Murray's employment, and Murray was reinstated. While embezzlement of property valuing less than $500 is generally a misdemeanor under Oklahoma law, the statutes make special provisions for embezzlement by public officials.
Misdemeanor embezzlement is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Embezzlement by a public officer, however, is a felony. If convicted, Mayor Smith faces a minimum one year sentence, fines totaling triple the amount embezzled, and restitution. Smith's Oklahoma white collar crime attorneys will be ready to defend him at trial on July 1.