Yukon FFA investigation could lead to more arrests, prosecutor says

A lengthy investigation into the Yukon FFA program could lead to more charges, a prosecutor told The Oklahoman.
by Andrew Knittle Modified: December 22, 2013 at 11:00 am •  Published: December 22, 2013
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A lengthy investigation into the Yukon FFA program led to the arrest last week of a former agriculture instructor, but prosecutors say more criminal charges could be coming.

Jenna Brown, an assistant district attorney in Canadian County, told The Oklahoman that victims supplied her office with additional details after the arrest of Jason Bow, 39, on embezzlement charges last week.

“Any time that happens, if the information is credible, we will look into that,” Brown said. “In this case, we gave the information to OSBI and they are looking into (the new allegations).”

Based on the information received by her office, Brown said more criminal charges are possible. She did not say who the charges would be filed against or give further details about the new allegations.

Bow was charged Dec. 11 with two counts of embezzlement, the result of an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation inquiry that started in June 2011. He is accused of overcharging two Yukon parents on livestock purchases, a practice known as “skimming” in the agriculture world.

Debbie Wright, who wrote a check to Bow for $7,000 in June 2010 for a show calf, was overcharged by $4,250, an affidavit filed along with the charges shows.

Another parent, Donna Yanda, was overcharged by $500.

Bow, who has no previous arrest record in Oklahoma, could serve up to five years in prison if convicted.

He resigned his job as a Yukon agriculture instructor in April 2011 after confessing to Bill Denton, the district's superintendent, that he had overcharged Debbie Wright to cover the cost of livestock that had died, the affidavit shows.

Instructors investigated

While Bow is the only one to be charged following OSBI's investigation, prosecutors say other former Yukon agriculture instructors were looked at closely in connection with the skimming allegations.

Bow worked at Yukon for roughly eight years, beginning in August 2003.

Mac DeVilbiss, who headed up Yukon's agriculture education program for decades before retiring in 2003, is listed as one of the targets of OSBI's investigation, along with Bow.

Records show that Yanda gave DeVilbiss a check for a livestock purchase in June 2010, although Bow is the one who quoted the price of the show calf.

DeVilbiss, who was not been employed by the district in an official capacity since 2005, also represented Yukon's agriculture education program in 2010 during livestock auctions, along with Bow.

“At this point, we don't have enough evidence to charge him with anything,” Brown said of DeVilbiss. “Same thing with (Tim) Herren, the pig guy.”

DeVilbiss denied any wrongdoing during an interview Friday with The Oklahoman. He said overcharging parents — and some times undercharging them — is done for legitimate purposes.

The animals have to be groomed, DeVilbiss said, “to take away the threat of injuring a young person.”

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by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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Did he handle it right? Probably not. I'd be the first to say it. But to charge a man with a felony, for that, it's a drastic step.”

Mac DeVilbiss,

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