Attorney General files charges on former police pension executive director
Ponca City Now - May 1, 2018 4:12 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Mike Hunter on Tuesday charged former Oklahoma Police Pension and Retirement System (OPPRS) Executive Director Steven Snyder with six counts of filing false claims against the state and one count of violating the Computer Crimes Act.
According to the affidavit, an examination of travel reimbursement claims submitted by Snyder to the state exposed he was being reimbursed for personal trips and vacations while he was serving as the OPPRS executive director.
Information obtained through interviews and analysis of records revealed that Snyder failed to use his annual or sick leave while on vacation or away from the office for personal matters, including personal trips to California and an extended vacation to Europe.
Today’s charges stem from an investigation that began in March by the Attorney General’s Office after an anonymous tip led to a review by the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) that found potential wrongdoing.
Hunter emphasized that only operational funds were used for Snyder’s travel reimbursement and no pension trust funds were involved.
“I commend the thorough investigation by the agents and attorneys in the Attorney General’s Office and the collaborative effort by OMES,” Attorney General Hunter said. “The evidence gathered shows an abuse of authority, which undermined the agency and its fiduciary responsibilities to its more than 9,000 police officers and their families. My office remains dedicated to those members and their families, while holding accountable those who attempt to take advantage of them.”
After the initial findings, an audit was conducted. Emails obtained by investigators show Snyder would schedule impromptu meetings with investment firm representatives at destinations of his personal travel, where he asked the representatives to bring portfolios or other documents to justify travel expenses. Some email records contradict travel reimbursement claims for the annual OU – Texas football game and other travel to locations around the country.
The charging document shows in 2014, Snyder initiated contact with investment managers in New York, while on a layover with his wife to Europe for a cruise from June 5 to June 15, where no annual leave was taken by Snyder.
During a 2017 layover in New York on his way to a second Europe trip, an email from Snyder to an investment manager requests they review a portfolio before dinner, “that way it is a [sic] expense deduction!”
An interview with Snyder’s predecessor, who served as the system’s executive director for 25 years, said only on rare occasions was it necessary for him to travel out of state. He went on to say it would not be necessary for him to meet personally with investment managers because they traveled frequently to Oklahoma for meetings with the board, not the executive director.
Read the charging document, here: https://bit.ly/2rhPsAa.
All defendants are innocent until proven guilty.