State Insurance Commissioner indicted on embezzlement charge

Thursday, July 29th 2004, 12:01 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Carroll Fisher, already facing criminal charges, was accused of embezzlement Friday in a multicounty grand jury indictment that was unsealed in an Oklahoma County courtroom.

The indictment, which was handed down on Wednesday, alleges that Fisher accepted $1,000 dollars as a campaign contribution from Oxford, Mississippi, insurance agent Johnny Jordan Morgan in mid-May 2003 but that the money was used for other purposes.

Prosecutor Joel-lyn McCormick, an assistant attorney general, said the money was placed in Fisher's personal checking account, which was overdrawn at the time.

Fisher, 64, had no comment after the indictment was unsealed by District Judge Jerry Bass, who entered a not guilty plea for Fisher.

McCormick said the allegations in the indictment may also represent violations of state Ethics Commission rules.

"There is definitely a pattern of behavior that seems to represent that this defendant does not follow the rules," she said.

Bond was set at $1,000. Fisher' attorney, Irven Box , requested a preliminary hearing on the embezzlement charge and a conference was set for Sept. 16. Fisher was taken away for booking.

Box said he was unaware of the allegations in the indictment.

"I haven't talked to the commissioner about it," he said. "I didn't know this matter."

Box said he expects the multicounty grand jury will continue to investigate Fisher.

"I don't think it's the last of it," Box said.

"There are a lot of burdens right now that he's dealing with. I think we'll get through it."

Fisher was indicted by the grand jury in February on four felony counts related to operating a charity illegally and embezzling insurance education funds. A preliminary hearing on those charges began July 14 and will resume on Sept. 8.

On Tuesday, Fisher was trounced by Rep. Brad Carson in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary.

Fisher has refused to testify before a special legislative committee that is considering his impeachment.

The penalty for embezzlement is up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine and full restitution.