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You can't judge a book by its cover and you can't judge a person by their titles. Former Oklahoma Senator and Tulsa Better Business Bureau CEO, Rick Brinkley, is going to prison for fraud and tax evasion.
Accused of stealing $1.8 million from the BBB, Brinkley must turn himself in on April Fools Day, ironically, to serve a 37-month sentence resulting from his guilty plea last summer. He was sentenced last week and the hearing was revealing, according to Oklahoma's News on 6.
New Purpose Found
Now a self-proclaimed "pauper" who contemplated suicide, according to his testimony during the sentencing hearing, Brinkley claims that hitting rock bottom has helped him find his purpose, which is to help people.
Previously, while Brinkley was being paid to help people, he was apparently writing himself checks from BBB funds and using them to pay gambling and credit card debts. He also owes the IRS $150,000.
The Tulsa BBB seems unimpressed with Brinkley's testimony, having lost not only the stolen funds but public trust, members, and the resulting dues they bring in annually. In a statement, the BBB said, "It is without question that Mr. Brinkley's fraudulent criminal behavior over many years has severely damaged BBB Tulsa, a non-profit institution whose mission is to promote honesty, integrity and transparency in the business community."
Brinkley has forfeited his property and holdings to the government to pay restitution and does have to turn himself in to prison in just a few weeks. The former senator has indeed fallen far. Still, his sentence is a small price to pay considering the crimes he committed and the extent of his theft. According to the BBB, the "reputational and public image damage to BBB Tulsa is incalculable."
Do not do what Rick Brinkley did or you too could find yourself in a heap of trouble. If you need help with any aspect of your business operations, speak to a lawyer. Get guidance on operating within the law.