USA V. Eugene E. Stipe and Francis D. Stipe - Federal Grand Jury Indictment - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

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USA V. Eugene E. Stipe and Francis D. Stipe - Federal Grand Jury Indictment

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From news release:

MUSKOGEE, OKLAHOMA - Sheldon J. Sperling, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, announced that EUGENE E. STIPE, age 80, and FRANCIS D. STIPE, age 76, both of McAlester, Oklahoma, were indicted today before a federal grand jury in Muskogee on conspiracy related charges.

"The Indictment charges both defendants, who are brothers, with Conspiracy to Commit Fraud, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 371; Honest Services Mail Fraud, in violation of Title 18, U.S. C. Sections 1341, 1346 and 2;   Tampering with a Witness, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Sections 1512(b)(1) and 2; and Engaging in an Illegal Monetary Transaction, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Sections 1957 and 2," U.S. Attorney Sperling reported.

"Count I of the Indictment alleges that EUGENE STIPE and FRANCIS STIPE knowingly conspired with each other and with others, to commit Counts II and III of the Indictment - Mail Fraud and Tampering with a witness.  Specifically, the Indictment alleges that the defendants steered funds appropriated by the Legislature of the State of Oklahoma to an entity known as the McAlester Foundation (MF).  MF used these funds to purchase real estate owned by EUGENE STIPE for a business known as National Pet Products (NPP)."

"The Indictment further alleges that the object the conspiracy was to recoup $50,000.00 provided to a failed congressional campaign.  The money was in the form of a loan by FRANCIS STIPE to an industrial credit corporation, which then provided the funds to Walt Roberts for use in his 1998 congressional campaign.  The money was to be recovered from funds appropriated by the Legislature of the State of Oklahoma and used by MF to buy the real property from EUGENE STIPE."

"The Indictment further alleges that the defendants conspired to use intimidation on Michael D. Mass, to corruptly persuade Mass from testifying before a Federal Grand Jury investigation and subsequent trial, by purchasing the mortgage of his residence from a financial institution.  The Indictment alleges that on February 14, 2007, FRANCIS STIPE bought the mortgage on Mass' residence from a financial institution, which mortgage had been guaranteed by EUGENE STIPE.  Mass is a former legislator who was in a position to allocate funds to state agencies including the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture and to Councils of Government, including the Kiamichi Economic Development District of Oklahoma.   Mass was also in a position to steer the funds from the state agencies and Councils of Government to the McAlester Foundation."

"Count I is punishable by a term of imprisonment not to exceed five (5) years, and a fine of not more than $250,000.00."

"Count II of the Indictment alleges that both defendants knowingly and intentionally devised a scheme and artifice to defraud another of the intangible right of honest services, by steering funds appropriated by the Legislature of the State of Oklahoma to the McAlester Foundation (MF).  EUGENE STIPE, and others, had a financial interest in NPP, secretly, and therefore was a false and fraudulent pretense employed in the scheme.  The Indictment further states that the funds steered to MF by Legislator Mass deprived others of Mass' honest services.  The payment of the funds was kept secret from the public and was, therefore, a false and fraudulent pretense employed in the scheme.  The indictment further alleges that EUGENE STIPE and FRANCIS STIPE did each recoup their $50,000.00.  The undisclosed repayment of the loan with funds appropriated by the Legislature of the State of Oklahoma through the sale of the property to the MF was another false and fraudulent pretence employed in the scheme.  Three checks were sent through and delivered by the United States Postal Service for an amount totaling approximately $1,900,000.00.  The checks were from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture in Oklahoma City addressed to the Kiamichi Economic Development District of Oklahoma in Wilburton," stated U.S. Attorney Sperling.

"Count II is punishable by a term of imprisonment not to exceed twenty (20) years and a fine of not more than $250,000.00."

"Count III of the Indictment alleges that EUGENE STIPE and FRANCIS STIPE attempted to use intimidation on Michael D. Mass, and did so, by purchasing Mass' residential mortgage from a financial institution for the purposes of delaying or preventing his testimony before a Federal Grand Jury investigation and subsequent trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma."

"Count III is punishable by a term of imprisonment not to exceed ten (10) years and a fine of not more than $250,000.00."

"Count IV of the Indictment alleges that EUGENE STIPE and FRANCIS STIPE engaged in a monetary transaction through and to a financial institution, affecting interstate commerce, in criminally derived property of a value greater than $10,000.00.  Specifically, they exchanged a check payable to Michael D. Mass in the amount of $48,000.00 as a kickback for steering funds from the Legislature of the State of Oklahoma."

"Count IV is punishable by a term of imprisonment not to exceed ten (10) years and a fine of not more than $250,000.00."

"First Assistant United States Attorney Robert Gay Guthrie and Assistant United States Attorney Ryan M. Roberts represented the government."

U.S. Attorney Sperling concluded by noting, "A Grand Jury Indictment does not constitute evidence of guilt.  A Grand Jury Indictment is a method of bringing formal charges against the defendant.  The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and may not be found guilty unless evidence establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt."