Embezzled American Legion funds may have gone for drugs, records show

Charges over missing funds from Oklahoma operations expected in July.
by Nolan Clay Modified: June 16, 2014 at 4:00 pm •  Published: June 16, 2014
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Investigators suspect some of the hundreds of thousands of dollars embezzled from the American Legion operations in Oklahoma went to buy drugs, records show.

Investigators last week reported finding baggies of crystal methamphetamine and a glass pipe when they searched the Mustang home of the chief suspect, former Legion adjutant David Austin Kellerman.

Kellerman, 43, was arrested and charged with methamphatamine possession, a felony, the same day.

In their request for a search warrant, investigators revealed they had followed Kellerman for a couple of months last fall.

Kellerman has been under state and federal investigation since Aug. 28 “in reference to embezzling of money, theft of rifles and other various criminal acts,” the court records show.

Kellerman was observed “on several occasions” driving to a hotel in Yukon and visiting with a woman who has a long history of drug possession and manufacturing, an Oklahoma Veteran Affairs Department special agent, Steven Pancoast, wrote in a search warrant affidavit.

The woman — identified as Tamara Brown — was later questioned about those visits. Brown, 50, spent time in prison and is now on probation until 2023 for a methamphetamine manufacturing conviction, prison records show.

“During the interview, Tammy admitted that she would supply Kellerman with a couple of grams of meth a day,” Pancoast wrote. “Tammy stated that Kellerman would even purchase meth twice a day from her. Tammy also stated that Kellerman showed her pictures that he had on his phone of underage Mexican girls having sex with animals.”

Kellerman was the state adjutant from September 2003 to December 2011, court records show. The paid position has been described as similar to a chief executive officer of a company.

He remained active in the Legion in 2012 and 2013, serving as a voluntary and unpaid assistant to his successors.

No one has been charged yet over the missing funds.

National officials of the well-known veterans organization voted to take over the Oklahoma operations in March because of the embezzlement. The national officials ousted or fired all the state Legion officials.

National officials have estimated the financial losses in Oklahoma could be as much as $500,000 to $1 million.

Kellerman does face a felony charge over rifles that disappeared after Legion posts were closed.

He was charged in January with taking ceremonial World War I and World War II rifles from Legion posts and selling them.

Before the search last week, his defense attorneys repeatedly said that Kellerman did nothing wrong. After the search, his current attorney, Scott Adams, twice declined to comment.

Kellerman was caught two times with marijuana after traffic stops in 2012, court records show. He was put on probation both times.

Investigators reported seizing 76 items — including cellphones — during the search last Tuesday. Agents plan to review the cellphones for evidence of child pornography.


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by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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