Oklahoma agency director fired amid embezzlement allegations
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The head of an Oklahoma agency that manages $2.5 billion in pension funds for municipal police officers has been fired after allegations of embezzlement.
The board for the Oklahoma Police Pension and Retirement System voted 10-1 on Monday to terminate Director Steven Snyder. Board members have appointed Sean Ruark as interim executive director until they find a permanent replacement.
Snyder’s termination comes after the attorney general’s office announced last week an investigation that stems from an anonymous tip about his travel. Agent Thomas Helm said in a request for a search warrant that the 61-year-old is accused of engaging in “excessive travel for personal business and being reimbursed with state funds.”
The Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services conducted a travel claim analysis due to the anonymous tip. It determined that Snyder had submitted 21 travel claims for reimbursement between Feb. 7, 2015, and Sept. 29, 2017.
“Nine of the reimbursements, totaling $26,265.35, were found to have been made surrounding Snyder’s personal travel,” Helm wrote in the search warrant affidavit. “He ... would arrange for impromptu meetings with investment firms to justify travel expenses.”
The board said it’s conducting an internal audit of financial records and operating procedures.
“To be clear, there is no evidence suggesting law enforcement pensions have been compromised,” said Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter. “I want to assure our law enforcement partners throughout the state and their families that my office will have their best interests in mind throughout this investigation.”
Snyder, a former assistant attorney general, wasn’t present for the meeting Monday. He has been executive director of the system for nine years, according to records.