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Source: Oklahoma Farm Report

Last September, Executive Director Heather Buckmaster released a statement revealing the apparent theft of money by an employee who was immediately terminated once wrong doing was discovered. The statement on September 21st signaled the start of what has developed into a lengthy investigation.

The embezzlement investigation continues- and the state beef checkoff group released a statement yesterday afternoon on the forensic analysis to this point, revealing that $2.6 million dollars is involved over an eight year period.

The statement signaled both criminal and civil charges will be pursued- and the Beef Council acknowledges the length and the extent of the embezzlement.

Since the investigation is ongoing, the Beef Council is limited in the details it can share, but the statement does explain the actions taken by the Oklahoma Beef Council since the discovery of theft.

"When initial evidence was discovered, we immediately terminated the employee and hired an accounting firm to perform an extensive forensic analysis and assessment, which documented $2.6 million in employee theft between 2009-2016.

"The Oklahoma Beef Council provided this information to Federal authorities in September to ensure swift action could be taken. Our goal throughout this process has been to speed recovery and restitution to the greatest extent possible. The board of directors and staff have cooperated fully with Federal authorities as the investigation has moved forward."

Shortly after the statement was released by the OBC- Charlie Swanson, President of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association, offered his take on the status of the investigation- "OCA has received and reviewed the statement released today by the Oklahoma Beef Council. While we are shocked at the amount stolen, OCA remains firmly committed to the mission and purpose of the beef checkoff. The past and future success of promoting our product to consumers far outweighs the negative, criminal activity of one bad employee. We send our appreciation to the board members and staff for their fortitude and continued commitment to promote beef during this difficult time."

You can read the full statement from the OBC, including comments from their current Chairman Tom Fanning by clicking or tapping here.

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