Muskogee federal courthouse

CNHI file photo

MUSKOGEE — A former treasurer for the city of Hartshorne pleaded guilty Monday to embezzling more than $100,000 from the city, entering the plea as part of a plea deal with the federal government.

Court documents show 72-year-old Shirley Day was charged by information in May by the Eastern District of Oklahoma on one count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds.

The information filed against Day alleges she received more than $10,000 in benefits under a federal program involving a grant, contract, subsidy, loan, guarantee, insurance, or other federal assistance from 2009 through 2016 and obtained the funds “by fraud, embezzlement, and otherwise without authority, property worth at least $5,000 owned by the City of Hartshorne."

Day appeared Monday morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kimberly E. West at the federal courthouse in Muskogee with her attorney J. Michael Miller and waived her rights to an indictment by a grand jury and a trial by jury before pleading guilty to the charge.

Federal prosecutors informed West during the hearing they were seeking probation against Day and restitution in the amount of $160,000 to be paid to the city of Hartshorne.

Day admitted in court to “obtaining funds by fraud, embezzlement, and otherwise without authority, property worth at least $5,000 owned by the City of Hartshorne."

West accepted Day’s plea of guilt and ordered a pre-sentence investigation to be completed prior to a sentencing date in front of a U.S. district judge and released Day on her own recognizance.

A sentencing date will be scheduled after the pre-sentence investigation is completed. 

Day is the second person to plead guilty to a federal charge following an investigative audit conducted and released by the Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector’s Office in 2017 — which showed at least $1.8 million in missing or misappropriated city of Hartshorne funds.

Former Hartshorne City Clerk Meredith Dawn Dunkin pleaded guilty in November 2020 and admitted to stealing more than $83,000 from the city between 2013 and 2016 by use of a city-issued credit card.

Dunkin was sentenced in May to nine months in the custody of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and ordered to pay $80,083.35 to the city of Hartshorne.

The investigatory audit conducted by the state auditor’s office included an executive summary that showed a possible amount of $1,725,336.16 of the city of Hartshorne’s utility revenues were not deposited during the combined periods of July 2009 through July 2016.

Regarding utility billing, the report states “Shirley Day did not appear to effectively execute her duties as City Treasurer in the collection, recording and depositing of utility billing revenue.

“Between July 2014 and July 2016 records reflected that $617,590.07 in utility payments were posted to customer accounts but were not deposited,” the state auditor’s report states.

“An analysis of utility deposits for an additional five-year period, July 2009 through June 2014, reflected a projected $1,107,746.09 in cash that had not been deposited,” the report states.

“During the combined periods of July 2009 through July 2016, it appears that a possible $1,725,336.16 of utility revenue was not deposited,” the audit report continues.

Both Day and Dunkin retired from their posts with the city and Carolyn Trueblood resigned from her position as Hartshorne mayor.

“It’s probably one of the worst cases of embezzlement on a city that we’ve seen — ever,” then-State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones told the News-Capital in 2017.

Contact Derrick James at djames@mcalesternews.com

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