State senator resigns immediately

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Quick Facts:

  • Senator Rick Brinkley pleads guilty to federal charges 
  • Thursday morning agencies announced six charges against former senator Rick Brinkley
  • All charges involve an embezzlement case against the senator
  • He resigned effective immediately Thursday morning. 

State Senator Rick Brinkley pleaded guilty to federal charges on Thursday morning.

He pleaded guilty to five counts of wire fraud and tax evasion.

Several agencies charged an Oklahoma senator in an embezzelment investigation on Thursday. The US Attorney of the Northern District, Danny Williams Sr., held a news conference with the FBI, the Criminal Investigation unit of the FBI and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to announce charges against Rick Brinkley.

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FOX23's Lynn Casey attended the conference:

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Officials announced five federal wire fraud chages involving money from the Better Business Bureau. Brinkley also faces a count of tax evasion for hiding part of that money from the IRS.

Investigators linked the embezzlement to a significant gambling probelm.  Brinkley could face 20 years in prison for the wire fraud and three years on tax evasion. No one else is being investigated.

Brinkley resigned in early August amid allegations of embezzlement at the nonprofit agency he where he once worked. He settled with the agency in an agreement with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission.   His resignation would have gone into effect Dec. 31.

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The senator resigned effective immediately on Thursday morning. A special election was planned when he first announced his resignation. According to state officials, they cannot move the primary scheduled for November. Officials said the election was already scheduled to take place as quickly as possible. 

The immediate resignation was encouraged by Oklahoma State Auditor Gary Jones, who said "It's one thing to give him the benefit of the doubt."

"It's another when he admits guilt," Jones said. "He's not serving his constituents and needs to come off the state payroll now."

Brinkley could still face state charges.