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No Arrests Or Charges Yet For Roland Officials In Embezzlement Case

ROLAND, Okla. (KFSM) – No one has been arrested and no charges have been filed 10 months after a state audit implicated at least two Roland town officials and a...

ROLAND, Okla. (KFSM) – No one has been arrested and no charges have been filed 10 months after a state audit implicated at least two Roland town officials and an assistant police chief in an embezzlement investigation, according to court records.

State investigators consider the case still open and active, said Jessica Brown, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

A state audit in January concluded town officials and one of their husbands embezzled more than $200,000 from Roland city funds in eastern Oklahoma between 2009 and 2013.

Deputy town clerk Joetta Tyler-Hyde resigned in January 2013. Agents with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation opened an investigation into alleged embezzling by town officials the same month, and town officials fired town administrator Greg Wilson the next month, officials said.

An audit released in January states Tyler-Hyde received $129,442 in unsubstantiated payments from the town from July 2009 to January 2013. Wilson in the same timespan received $51,633 in unsubstantiated payments, according to the state audit.

State investigators said they would hand the evidence over to the Sequoyah County District Attorney following their investigation. Court records show no arrests warrants or criminal charges issued yet in connection with the case.

The audit conducted by state officials showed thousands of dollars in unsubstantiated extra salary being paid to the town clerk. For example, the audit states Tyler-Hyde’s salary for Fiscal Year 2011 should have been $50,562.42. Instead, she collected in salary that year a total of $90,009.05.

The following year, a cost of living increase should have put her salary at $52,374.40, not the $78,223.92 she actually received in salary that year, according to audit figures.

Auditors also uncovered a fake leave benefits package letter they said Wilson artificially manufactured after he was hired for the job of town administrator. It stated Wilson would receive three weeks of vacation time for his first year and four weeks per year after that. It also allowed for 10 sick days and three personal days, noting vacation and sick time could be carried over from year to year or be sold back to the town.

The allegedly fake letter was stamped with former Mayor J.R. Crowson’s signature. An investigation revealed Crowson couldn’t have stamped the letter at the time of Wilson’s hiring because the stamp was not purchased until a month later, the audit states.

Tyler-Hyde’s husband Mike Hyde was also implicated in the state audit. Town officials told auditors Mike Hyde was hired as a temporary part-time employee, although investigators could not find any records for Hyde and could not verify that payments made to Hyde were for actual hours worked.

The audit ruled Mike Hyde received unsubstantiated payments from the Town of Roland for $10,790 total between July 2010 and February 2013.

Assistant police chief Billy Cannon was not initially investigated as part of the audit, but as the audit unfolded, investigators started looking into Cannon.

While reviewing payroll payments to other officials during the audit timeframe, auditors discovered Cannon had, at one point, received nine checks in less than a month. A subsequent investigation revealed Cannon received $11,096 in unsubstantiated pay between July 2011 and February 2013, the audit states.

The audit also includes other allegations of financial misconduct from Roland town officials, including overspending on Christmas budget items, a poorly-used petty cash system and unauthorized expenditures. Auditors also concluded town officials had lied to auditors about Mike Hyde working for the town, and that Hyde had received $12,307 in employer-paid health insurance premiums for which he was not entitled.