State Sen. Rick Brinkley pleads guilty to fraud, immediately resigns as legislator
By RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer
Brought low by a gambling habit that kept him living beyond his means, Rick Brinkley went from lawmaker to felon within a matter of an hour or so Thursday.
As Brinkley repeated the word “guilty” six times in front of U.S. District Judge Claire Eagan just before noon, his letter of resignation from the Oklahoma Senate, effective immediately, was released by the secretary of state.
Once ticketed for the top spot in Senate leadership, Brinkley admitted Thursday to embezzling at least $1.8 million from his employer, the Better Business Bureau of Eastern Oklahoma, over a period of more than nine years. Under the terms of an agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Owasso Republican pleaded guilty to five counts of wire fraud and one count of signing a false tax return. A $1.8 million criminal forfeiture judgment was part of agreement.
Brinkley is free on bond until sentencing Nov. 20. Prosecutors expect him to serve 26 to 37 months in prison.