A former Oklahoma City Community College bursar faces up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to federal wire fraud.
Brandi J. Henson, 49, of Yukon, used her access to the college's financial accounts to embezzle nearly $400,000 from the school between 2004 and 2011, officials said.
Henson has agreed to pay restitution as part of her plea agreement and will be sentenced on the charge in about 90 days, according to Bob Troester, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Oklahoma City.
OCCC spokesman Cordell Jordan said Henson manipulated account records so that tuition and book refunds issued to students also were issued to her personal credit card.
These refunds, of which there are hundreds each semester, are processed through an online PayPal account and issued via debit card, Jordan said. The crime was a federal charge because the servers for processing the refunds are located outside of Oklahoma.
Jordan said the school began investigating in July 2011 after several transactions were red-flagged by the credit card company through which student refunds are issued.
He said the findings were a “disappointment” and that the school has implemented new procedures to increase oversight.
“We also have a new policy that more than one person handles any account,” he said.
Jordan said the embezzled funds over the seven-year span were not significant compared to the college's $50 million annual operating budget.
Henson was hired by the school in 1990 and began working as bursar in 2003, according to Jordan. She resigned in September 2011.
In addition to jail time, she could face a $250,000 fine.
Henson could not be reached for comment. Her attorney, Jack Dawson, declined to comment.
In plea papers filed in U.S. District Court, Western District of Oklahoma, Henson admitted her guilt: “I am guilty and do not want to make this any more costly or painful for anyone than it already is,” she wrote.