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Former Oklahoma Regulator Awaits Trial For Tax Fraud

OKLAHOMA CITY (BestWire) - A trial that was to begin June 11 on the tax fraud case of former Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Carroll Fisher has been pushed back to late July.

Already serving a three-year term for perjury and embezzlement in relation to $1,000 in campaign contributions he failed to report after depositing them into his personal bank account, Fisher faces an additional two to five years and a fine of up to $25,000 if convicted on the tax fraud charges.

According to Charlie Price, a spokesman for the state attorney general's office, Fisher is currently under house arrest, after having been jailed for a weekend in February for violating the terms of his appeal bond.

The pending trial was delayed after a judge in Oklahoma City determined that, because the tax return in question was signed by Fisher in Tulsa County, the matter belongs in Tulsa County District Court. A scheduling conference in Tulsa County is set for July 23.

Price said the felony charges relate to Fisher's alleged failure to pay taxes on an alleged $25,000 bribe. The state also alleges the former insurance commissioner sold his insurance company for $67,000, failing to report the sale on his tax return.

Price said additional felony charges faced by Fisher include failure to pay money to the state, failure to register a nonexempt charitable organization, failure to report contributions to a nonexempt charitable organization and failure to provide and keep a copy of written receipts for charitable contributions.

In 2004, Fisher, now 67, and his administrative assistant, Opal Ellis, now 72, were indicted by a grand jury on felony charges that include embezzlement of more than $40,000 in connection with the Insurance Department's Continuing Education Fund, and other charges involving Fisher's nonprofit charitable organization, which he created to buy shoes for poor children.

Fisher and Ellis also stand accused of failing to report more than $23,000 in contributions in 2000 to the Fisher Foundation, and of failing to provide, and keep duplicates of, receipts for contributions. The indictment alleges no receipts were provided nor kept for almost $18,000 received by the charity between March 2001 and March 2003.

Ellis awaits trail on the charges, Price said.
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