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Saturday, May 18, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

School Soup Gets a Year in the Can

(CN) - A former Oklahoma school superintendent was sentenced Thursday to a year in federal prison for a bribery scheme that charged four times the fair market value for school supplies.

Gary L. Johnson, former superintendent of the Skiatook Public School System, was also ordered to pay more than $207,000 in restitution, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tulsa said in a statement.

Johnson pleaded guilty in October 2102 to conspiring to defraud the United States and to corruptly solicit, accept, give and offer things of value.

"Johnson [and Rickey L.] Enos, an Oklahoma City businessman, had previously admitted to conspiring to defraud the United States by hiding from the Internal Revenue Service income derived from bribes in the preparation and filing of Johnson's Federal income tax returns," the U.S. Attorney's Office said. "Additionally, the defendants admitted they had agreed to violate federal laws by engaging in corrupt conduct to influence Johnson through a series of bribes."

The conspiracy lasted from 2004 to 2010. Enos profited by overbilling the district for basic supplies, equipment and services, and Johnson approved the payments, prosecutors said.

"In exchange, Johnson would corruptly solicit and accept things of value, including cash, tickets to college football games, and the costs for travel, food, lodging, and entertainment from Enos," the complaint states. "For example, in January 2004, Enos took Johnson to the National NCAA Division I Football Championship game in New Orleans, Louisiana."

Gifts included tickets to Sooner home football games for Johnson, which were upgraded to include box suites.

"In order to conceal their corrupt agreement from others, the defendants used code words. They communicated using the code word 'cabinet' to refer to corrupt cash payments of $100, and the words 'large cabinet' to refer to cash payments of $1,000," prosecutors said. "Enos also provided Johnson with multiple cash bribes during the course of the conspiracy."

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