DALLAS -- A federal grand jury has indicted a former Oklahoma state deputy treasurer and two businessmen on 32 counts in a securities dealing scheme that allegedly involved conspiracy, bribery, kickbacks, and money laundering.
The indictment, which was announced Wednesday in Oklahoma City, represents one of the largest public corruption cases in Oklahoma history and culminates a more than one-year investigation into the loss of millions of taxpayer dollars following $1.6 billion in state securities trades.
Three people are named in the indictment: Patricia Whitehead, 49, former state deputy treasurer; Patrick Kuhse, 40, a former securities dealer for Planners Independent Management of San Diego; and William Pretty, 40, a Norman, Okla., businessman.
In U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City yesterday, Whitehead and Pretty pleaded not guilty and were released on bail. Kuhse, who is believed to have fled the country and could be living in Costa Rica, was not present.
H. Lee Schmidt, an assistant U.S. attorney in Oklahoma City who is helping prosecute the case, said the trial is scheduled for Nov. 14 in U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City.
In the indictment, Whitehead, Kuhse, and Pretty are charged as principals in an alleged conspiracy from 1990 to 1993 to give the deputy state treasurer more than $300,000 in kick-backs for using Planners Independent Management in state securities trades.
In addition, Kuhse is accused of receiving $4 million in questionable commissions for the trades made during 1991 and 1992.
Over all, Whitehead is charged with conspiracy as well as 12 counts of accepting money from Kuhse and Pretty and three counts of money laundering. Kuhse is charged with conspiracy, six counts of giving money to Whitehead in connection with the performance of her official duties, and 10 counts of money laundering. Pretty is charged with conspiracy, two counts of giving money to Whitehead in connection with the performance of her official duties, and six counts of money laundering.
All three defendants face criminal forfeiture of assets including real property, automobiles, jewelry, country club memberships, business interests, and other property involved in the offenses, the U.S. attorney's office said.
Prosecutors said all three were business associates before Whitehead, a former employee at Planners, was hired in 1991 by Oklahoma Treasurer Claudette Henry.
Henry, who had faced an impeachment move over the issue and who was defeated in her bid for re-election in the Republican primary last month, has said that Whitehead deliberately concealed .the fact that she was trading with Planners Independent Management Co.
Whitehead resigned from the deputy treasurer's post last year amid controversy and a state audit by state auditor Clifton Scott, who began an investigation into the treasurer's office in 1993. Scott has said the profits earned by Planners amounted to more than 50 times the usual fees.
For the U.S. Department of Justice case, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the criminal investigation division of the Internal Revenue Service helped with the investigation on the charges.
The U.S. attorney in Oklahoma City, Vickl Miles-LaGrange, is in charge of the federal prosecution. She said the maximum penalties for Conspiracy are up to $10,000 in fines and five years in prison; for bribery, 10 years in prison; and for money laundering, a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved and 20 years in prison.