Much of the money is gone and will likely never be paid back. But, former Oklahoma Beef Council Chair Tom Fanning had two words to say after Melissa Morton was sentenced for embezzling $2.6 million dollars from OBC: “Justice served.”
Morton was hit with a sentence of 57 months in federal prison, with federal law requiring she serve between 80 and 85 percent of her sentence. She’ll also be subject to supervision upon release. She was ordered to pay back $2.3 million to the beef council and has so far returned 10 percent of it. To get the rest, the OBC has to wait for Morton to pay back over half-a-million dollars to the IRS first. Fanning said this has been a rough time for the Oklahoma Beef Council board members. They’ve been trying to explain to cattle producers about the trust that was broken, the deceit brought upon the board, and the extreme level of fraud that she committed.
The U.S. Attorney said Morton kept multiple books, forged 790 checks and fooled several third-party auditors over seven years before she was caught. The U.S. Attorney also emphasized how serious the breach was as a long-time member of the non-profit organization.