A Felony Count Is Reduced
Gets Five-Years Probation For Tax-Evasion
Former City Councilman John A. Pettis Jr. (Ward 7) pleaded guilty last week to a misdemeanor count of not filing state tax returns and was given a five-year probation sentence.
He agreed to pay a $5,000 fine as part of a plea arrangement with prosecutors.
The former city councilman also agreed to never seek public office again and to never be in a position to control public funds, according to Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater.
In addition, Mr. Pettis has paid all back taxes and filed all past due to tax returns, the prosecutor said.
Councilman Pettis, 35, resigned in May 2018 after he was charged with three felony counts of embezzlement and one felony count of intentionally failing to file tax returns for 2009-2017.
With the embezzlement counts, former Councilman Pettis was accused of converting at least $165,000 from three charities controlled by him.
Prosecutors charged that Councilman Pettis lived for years off donations to the three charities, which he founded.
Councilman Pettis was paid $12,000 a year as a member of the City Council.
The prosecuting attorney dismissed the three embezzlement counts in May, saying at the time there were evidentiary issues.
On Wednesday of last week, District Attorney Prater reduced the remaining felony tax-evasion charges to a misdemeanor as part of a plea agreement.
“Two years ago, he was facing four serious felonies and today he got a five-year deferred to a misdemeanor,” said Mark Henricksen, the former councilman’s defense attorney.
“He’s very pleased to be able to get on with his life, free of a felony. He’s in a very good position today.”
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