OKC Councilman Charged With Embezzlement And Failing To File Income Tax
OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma City Councilman John Pettis has been charged with embezzling close to $150,000 belonging to three local charity organizations.
The Oklahoma County District Attorney's Office led the investigation and said Councilman Pettis crimes date back to 2009.
The investigation into Pettis began in April of 2017, after an unnamed tipster contacted Oklahoma City Police alleging criminal behavior. Documents state that eventually, Pettis's banking information from two financial institutions were turned over to law enforcement.
Pettis now faces three counts of embezzlement for charities he managed.
In the first instance, investigators said Pettis withdrew over $25,000 from the Southern Leadership Enhancement Center. That organization is designated to "...assist the impoverished community who lack the skills necessary to gain employment and participate in society..."
The second investigation circles around the Oklahoma Institute for Minority Affairs. This time, the District Attorney's Office said Pettis withdrew over $25,000, both in cash withdrawals and checks. That groups mission to help "...social, economic and civil development..." involving people of color as well as women's groups in Oklahoma.
In the third count, over $1,000 from the Rhonda K. Hutson Foundation, which raises money for the awareness for triple negative breast cancer.
But, that's not all. Pettis is also charged with one count of failing to file income tax returns, spanning the years of 2009 to 2017. Court documents reveal the Oklahoma Tax Commission, "has no record that John Pettis, Jr. has ever filed an Oklahoma Tax Return."
In fact, his business, PHA Consulting Inc., was suspended by the O.T.C in 2016, again citing taxes were never paid.
Investigators said when confronted the councilman and his attorney gave no explanation for the discrepancies.
We've reached out to John Pettis, those messages have not been returned.