Former Emergency Management Director Accused of Embezzlement

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LEFLORE COUNTY, Okla. (KFTA) — A former LeFlore County emergency management director was arrested Monday, accused of embezzlement and using county credit cards with his wife to fuel-up their personal vehicles.

Michael Davidson, the former director, faces four charges of embezzlement. His wife Jennifer Davidson is accused of taking/receiving a stolen credit or debit card. She also had three outstanding warrants for obtaining cash and/or merchandise by bogus check, according to Jessica Brown, public information officer for Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

Michael Davidson embezzled $1,990 from the City of Pocola and over $2,000 in fuel costs from Leflore County Emergency management, Brown said.

Both Michael and Jennifer Davidson were released from the LeFlore County Detention Center on bond, a detention center official said.

Multiple embezzlement allegations against Michael Davidson are detailed in an affidavit written by Shawn Ward, an OSBI special agent.

Ward said in the affidavit that Davidson admitted to using county money to purchase parts for his personal vehicle.

Michael Davidson is also accused of embezzling $347 from the county. That money was supposed to be used to purchase several tables from a third-party dealer who purchases items out of state and sells them to the county, which is prohibited from purchasing items out of state, according to the affidavit.

Davidson allegedly accepted a check for $1,990 from the City of Pocola for county services, but did not provide the service or give the money to the county, according to the affidavit.

Ward learned that Davidson had told Pocola officials that for $1,990 the county’s sign shop could build them remote control activated LED flashing signs. The city wrote a personal check to Michael Davidson, but Davidson did not turn the check over to the county, according to the affidavit.

LeFlore County Commissioner Lance Smith told Ward that he had not authorized Michael Davidson to personally use the county’s sign shop to make signs for outside entities without the county receiving the proceeds.

Ward said he launched his investigation into the Davidsons in October 2017, after LeFlore County Sheriff Rob Seale requested that he investigate embezzlement and fraud allegations made against the Davidsons.

“Seale discovered that Michael and Jennifer were using LeFlore County fuel credit cards to purchase fuel for their personally owned vehicles,” Ward stated in the affidavit.

Seale obtained video surveillance from Frost Oil Company fuel pumps at 1201 Central Street in Poteau, Ward said.

“The video showed Michael and Jennifer each putting gas into their personally owned vehicles on several different dates,” Ward said in the affidavit.

Ward conducted interviews, reviewed emergency management fuel receipts along with billing from Frost Oil Company and looked at the surveillance footage from Frost Oil Company, the affidavit said.

Ward said each emergency management employee was assigned a gas card with a specific pin number to get fuel through Frost. Emergency management was billed monthly for employee fuel.

An additional gas card was placed into emergency management’s rehab unit, described as a retired ambulance with a diesel engine used to provide support to firefighters at fire scenes. A fuel credit card was kept in the rehab unit, according to the affidavit.

“Jennifer Davidson would often drive the rehab unit,” Ward said in the affidavit.

LeFlore’s emergency management personnel attended a conference in Norman, Okla., in August 2017.
There were numerous entries of unleaded gas being obtained from Frost Oil with the rehab unit credit card when the employees were in Norman, the affidavit said.

“However, the rehab unit had not been dispatched to assist on any calls, and the unity specifically used diesel,”Ward said.

Ward said he watched September 7 surveillance footage of the Davidsons on video putting fuel into their personally owned vehicles and using Michael Davidson’s county issued credit card.

Ward also documented a LeFlore County purchase order made by Michael Davidson from O’Reilly Automotive in Poteau on June 19 for $215.41 for an alternator and belt.

“The items were not for any of the LeFlore County Emergency Management vehicles,” Ward said.
O’Reilly Automotive personnel told Ward that the belt and alternator would specifically fit a 2005-2007 Chrysler. Michael Davidson at the time owned a 2006 Chrysler 300.

“Michael admitted that he had purchased the items for his personal vehicle, but had forgotten to pay it back,” Ward said in the affidavit.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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