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Audit: Luther Corruption Costs Taxpayers Thousands, Sparks Criminal Investigation

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Current and former Luther officials stand accused of breaking state and federal laws dating back to Sept. 2012, according to information released in a public town board meeting Tuesday. Allegations include fraud and tax evasion. Current and former Luther officials stand accused of breaking state and federal laws dating back to Sept. 2012, according to information released in a public town board meeting Tuesday. Allegations include fraud and tax evasion.
LUTHER, Oklahoma -

Corruption is alive and well in Luther, according to an independent audit investigating the finances of the northeast Oklahoma County town.

The audit, conducted by Casey J. Russell CPA, Inc. of Oklahoma City, found taxpayers have been cheated out of thousands of dollars. City officials say the findings have sparked a criminal investigation.

Current and former Luther officials stand accused of breaking state and federal laws dating back to Sept. 2012, according to information released in a public town board meeting Tuesday. Allegations include fraud and tax evasion.

At Tuesday's town board meeting, certified public accountant Autumn Williams of Casey J. Russell CPA, Inc. gave Luther leaders fair warning concerning the city's financial mess.

"There's one thing that you do not want on your back and that's an IRS agent, and that's why this needs to be dealt with immediately," Williams told board members.

According to the audit, $47,834 of taxpayer money has vanished over the last year and six months. Town clerk-treasurer Donita Roby resigned amid the allegations Tuesday. Although city officials, who are staying tight-lipped on public records, won't say who is responsible.

"They should have done an investigation a long time ago," a concerned Luther resident told News 9. "People have asked for an investigation. It doesn't happen. It just gets swept under the rug."

Fraud is, apparently, just the beginning. The audit also shows that Luther owes $113,873 in unpaid payroll taxes. News 9 did the math and found that the current known financial crisis boils down to $132 per Luther resident.

It was difficult, if not impossible, for taxpayers to get answers from their elected officials during Tuesday's meeting. Mayor Cecilia Taft tells News 9 that a criminal investigation is in the hands of Oklahoma County prosecutors.

The Oklahoma State Auditor's Office says Luther has not yet filed its annual financial report to the state. The town has until the end of the month to submit the report.

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