For Release: May 21, 2008
U.S. Department of Justice
SHELDON J. SPERLING
MUSKOGEE, OKLAHOMA ― Sheldon J. Sperling, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, announced the filing of a felony Information against Larry Duane Couch, age 55, of Vian, Oklahoma. “The three-count Information charges the defendant with Embezzlement of Government Funds, and Making and Subscribing a False Tax Return,” U.S. Attorney Sperling reported. “The Information also seeks forfeiture of $979,000.00.”
“Count One of the Information alleges that the defendant, while Superintendent of the Marble City School District, embezzled and converted to his own use, property over the value of $5,000.00. The embezzled money was under the care of the Marble City School District, which received more than $10,000.00 in federal funding,” U.S. Attorney Sperling said.
“Count Two alleges that the defendant, a resident of the Eastern District of Oklahoma, subscribed a 1040 United States Individual Income Tax Return, under penalties of perjury, which return was false. Count Two covers the tax year of 2003. During that tax year, the defendant claimed an adjusted gross income of $24,062.00. His adjusted gross income was actually $142,312.00.”
“Count Three is a forfeiture charge. The United States seeks forfeiture of $979,000.00, representing the amount of the proceeds the defendant obtained as the result of the offense of embezzlement of government funds.”
“I have assigned First Assistant United States Attorney Douglas A. Horn and Assistant United States Attorney Rob Wallace to this case,” continued U.S. Attorney Sperling. “Doug and Rob have deftly shepherded this matter.”
“The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division spearheaded the federal inquiry. We worked closely with District Attorney Jerry Moore to facilitate what we anticipate will be an appropriate resolution of this sorry episode.”
“The forfeiture count entitles the United States to seize any property, real or personal, which constitutes or is derived from proceeds traceable to the offense.”
“Count One is punishable by imprisonment not to exceed ten (10) years, a fine not to exceed $250,000.00, and a supervised release term of up to three (3) years. Count Two is imprisonable for a period not to exceed three (3) years, and a fine of not more than $250,000.00.”
“The forfeiture count also has included the administrative forfeiture of a 1999 GMC Light Duty Van, a check in the amount of $10,408.00 from the Teacher’s Retirement System, a check in the amount of $3,600.68 from a livestock sale, and the following farm equipment: a hay rake, a hay baler, round baler, and Massey Ferguson tractor.”
“ signed plea agreement also provides that the United States may seize properties until the total amount of the criminal forfeiture, $979,000.00, is completely satisfied. The United States is further entitled to these assets to cover the costs of prosecution of $109,948.41,” noted U.S. Attorney Sperling.
“Properties to be forfeited include four real property holdings located in Sequoyah County, $100,000.00 held in an attorney trust account on behalf of the defendant, and approximately 250 acres near Tenkiller Lake, where the defendant is currently residing.”
“I expect that a plea hearing will soon be set in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma,” concluded U.S. Attorney Sperling.