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Oklahoma County district judge charged with fraud, perjury

Judge Tammy Bass-LeSure secretly gave adopted twins to bailiff's sister, kept state funds intended for their care, prosecutors allege.
BY NOLAN CLAY Modified: January 22, 2011 at 11:26 am •  Published: January 22, 2011

She stepped down from overseeing the murder trial after prosecutors complained of misconduct. She began her new probate docket this month and was hearing a case Friday afternoon after she was charged. The judge and her husband are being allowed to turn themselves in. She left the courthouse Friday, escorted by a sheriff's deputy away from the media.

She can continue to serve as a judge while the charge is pending unless the Court on the Judiciary takes action against her, officials told The Oklahoman. She is likely to be reassigned to handle civil cases.

The children were put into DHS custody because their mother tested positive for illegal drugs at the time of their births. The mother said R.E., who was then a DHS worker, contacted her a month later to tell her Tammy Bass-LeSure wanted to adopt the children “and could offer her children a better life,” the district attorney's investigator wrote.

Oklahoma County prosecutors learned of the alleged deception after R.E. became a suspect last September in an arson case, according to the court records. A fire investigator reported “this situation involving these children is common knowledge among people who know Judge LeSure in the community.”

The judge and her husband live in Oklahoma City and have had money problems. They filed for bankruptcy in June 2009, reporting debts of more than $1 million, records show. They acted after banks foreclosed on six modest Oklahoma County houses they owned. The judge gets more than $120,000 a year in state pay.

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater signed the charge.

NewsOK Search: Tammy Bass-LeSure

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