Another former state employee
has been accused of fraud in the Oklahoma Tax Commission investigation.
Up to 10 others associated with the agency are still under suspicion,
according to the Oklahoman.
Herbert Coles Jr., a fired
Tax Commission data encoder, pleaded not guilty Thursday to felony
charges. Coles is accused of conspiring with Jason Andrew Frias,
a trucking company agent, to withhold $45,978 in trucker fees
from the state.
A grand jury handed out
the indictment Tuesday - the third since the probe of the agency
began last year. Previously charged were two ex-Tax Commission
auditors, a Tax Commission supervisor, a former trucking company
agent and the former agent's boss.
In the latest indictment,
grand jurors alleged Coles and Frias began their scheme in April
2001. Grand jurors found evidence Coles or Frias collected payments
from out-of-state truckers 29 times but kept all the money, the
newspaper reported. Grand jurors allege the men stole cab cards
from the agency to send to the truckers.
Prosecutors allege Coles
began moonlighting as a trucking agent while still at the Tax
Commission. He and Fries at first teamed up to run a company called
Oklahoma Truck Tags for Le$$, according to the newspaper. Later,
Coles started M&H Expediting or E&H Service. The two allegedly
pocketed fees ranging from $378 to $5,706.
Coles was fired from the
Tax Commission on May 21 after he stopped going to work. Frias
is set to surrender Monday, the newspaper reported. Frias currently
is on probation on two unrelated charges. The maximum punishment
on the conspiracy to defraud the state charge is 10 years in prison
and a $25,000 fine.