Melson Sentenced in CLO Embezzlement Case
A former Commissioners of the Land Office (CLO) audit director was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment this afternoon for embezzling almost $1.2 million from the agency, Attorney General Drew Edmondson said today.
Roger Q. Melson, Jr. received a 60-year sentence with 10 years incarceration and 50 years probation after previously pleading guilty to 174 counts of embezzlement for taking more than $1.16 million in royalty payments intended for the CLO. He was indicted in June 2009 by the Multicounty Grand Jury for allegedly diverting CLO royalty payments to his own personal use.
A restitution hearing is set for Jan. 28.
Melson, who worked for the agency for 21 years, entered a blind guilty plea in Oklahoma County District Court Aug. 27. The CLO funds Melson embezzled came from royalty payments that were intended to benefit schools across Oklahoma.
The grand jury accused Melson of creating and registering with the Secretary of State an entity called Commissioner of the Land Office and opening a bank account referenced Roger Q. Melson, Jr. DBA Commissioner of the Land Office. Grand jurors said Melson diverted almost 200 different CLO payments to this bogus entity over a five-year period.
“Oklahoma schools and Oklahoma students suffered from this fraud,” Edmondson said. “Melson took money intended for books, supplies and computers. Our educational system is already in a financial crisis and every dollar helps. The last thing we need is someone illegally siphoning more than $1 million away from an already cash-starved system.”