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Two Oklahoma cases of embezzlement violate trust of victims

Dora Ezzell, 67, pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $63,000 from a dog breeder’s club; Brian Austin, 42, admitted spending more than $1,000 raised by Little Leaguers to pay bills

BY TIM WILLERT Published: February 3, 2013
/articleid/3751490/1/pictures/1942483">Photo - Brian Austin
Brian Austin

Bill Price, a club board member, told investigators Ezell admitted taking money from club accounts to cover gambling debts.

Ezzell, 67, of Oklahoma City, admitted having a gambling problem, and told authorities she would write checks to herself to try to cover the money she was losing at local casinos.

Either she would forge Davison’s name on a check if he had not already signed it or have him sign some blank checks just in case Ezzell “needed to pay a bill between club meetings,” court documents revealed.

In all, Ezzell admitted writing approximately 89 checks for fraudulent purposes, court documents show. According to the pre-sentence report, Ezzell said she thought she took approximately $25,000, adding that she “didn’t keep records of how much money she took.”

During the time she was treasurer of the kennel club she also worked as a customer service representative for a local credit union.

Attempts to reach Ezzell for comment were unsuccessful.

On eight different occasions, Ezzell admitted embezzling more than $1,000 but less than $25,000 from the club, court papers show.

“Started gambling for over 10 years and as I got into the habit (I) could not stop and borrowed money from the club which I was treasurer,” Ezzell told investigators in May.

In June 2011, she was charged in Oklahoma County District Court with 10 counts of embezzlement and one count of second-degree forgery.

Ezzell pleaded guilty in December to all 11 felonies but received no jail time.

A judge suspended all of Ezzell’s sentences. But as part of her plea deal, she must attend weekly meetings of Gamblers Anonymous meetings and pay nearly $64,000 in restitution to the club.

Ezzell, the club president told investigators, knowingly forged signatures and falsified records of the club and the financial institution she worked for “by filtering the embezzled monies through their accounting system.”

In addition to paying off gambling debts, Ezzell also used the money to take her family on vacations and other places, Davison said.

“This violation of trust has caused both my wife and I anger, disappointment, heartache and doubt,” Davison wrote in the pre-sentence report. “She was not just a club member or an acquaintance to my wife and I, but a close personal friend, so we thought.”

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