A Multicounty Grand Jury indictment unsealed in Oklahoma accuses a former auditor of embezzling almost $1.2 million from the Commissioners of the Land Office (CLO), Attorney General Drew Edmondson said.
Roger Q. Melson, Jr. is accused of 174 counts of embezzlement for allegedly taking more than $1.16 million in royalty payments intended for the CLO. Melson worked for the agency for 21 years, most recently as audit director.
“Congress in 1906 set aside certain parcels of land through the Enabling Act for the benefit of Oklahoma schools,” Edmondson said. “The CLO administers, manages and controls the use of these lands and the funds derived from their use, like agricultural, oil and gas leases and other types of royalties.”
The indictment alleges Melson diverted CLO royalty payments to his own personal use.
“The grand jurors accuse Melson of creating and registering with the Secretary of State an entity called Commissioner of the Land Office and opening a bank account referenced Roger Q. Melson, Jr. DBA Commissioner of the Land Office,” Edmondson said. “He then allegedly diverted almost 200 different CLO payments to this bogus entity over a five-year period.”
The attorney general said the scheme hurt Oklahoma schools and students.
“In embezzling this money from the CLO, Melson was essentially stealing from school children,” Edmondson said. “Instead of this money buying desks and textbooks, Melson used it for his own personal ends. The scope and duration of this fraud is staggering.”
Edmondson’s office administers the Multicounty Grand Jury and will be directing the prosecution.
Source: Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office, www.oag.state.ok.us
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