Oklahoma Beef Council Manager Indicted On Embezzlement of $2.6 Million

Wednesday, May 10th 2017, 3:13 pm
By: News 9

In an indictment from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma filed Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney charged an Oklahoma Beef Council accounting manager with two counts of bank fraud and false federal income tax return.  

Melissa Day Morton fraudulently obtained money under the custody and control of Bank of Oklahoma by forging several hundred Oklahoma Beef Council checks, made payable to herself, according to legal documents.

Morton worked as the accounting and compliance manager at the Oklahoma Beef Council from October 1995 until July 2016. According to documents, from in or around August of 2009 to July of 2016, Morton forged 790 unauthorized checks, drawing money from business accounts at the Bank of Oklahoma into her personal account.  

The Oklahoma Beef Council’s executive director, H.B., had the authority to sign checks drawn on this account. Morton, who did not have authority, is believed to have forged H.B.’s signature either manually or by using a signature stamp, according to the court.

Morton had access to the rubber stamp several years ago, and was only instructed to use it on limited occasions upon permission by H.B. The charges state that around 2010, H.B. instructed Morton to stop using the stamp, however Morton kept the stamp without knowledge or permission of the Oklahoma Beef Council or H.B.  

The unauthorized checks totaled more than $2,681, 400.

According to the U.S. attorney, Morton also made false accounting entries in the Oklahoma Beef Council’s general ledger to disguise the forged checks made payable to herself.

Morton is also charged with filing a false federal income tax return on a 2014 IRS Form.