A court hearing scheduled for March 5 will determine whether embezzlement charges against Carroll Fisher, Oklahoma insurance commissioner, and Opal Ellis, a special assistant to the commissioner, should continue or be dismissed, according to interviews.
The Oklahoma County District Court will look at four indictments delivered by a multicounty grand jury in mid-February and determine whether to proceed with a trial.
Additionally, the grand jury, which reconvenes on March 22, is looking into other areas related to the matter, says Charles Price, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson.
The indictments name Fisher, Ellis and Fishers charity, the Fisher Foundation, which was established to buy shoes for needy children.
The indictment alleges that Fisher and Ellis deposited money paid to the insurance department for continuing education to Ellis personal bank account instead of with the Oklahoma Treasurer and then transferred those funds to a separate bank account to which only they had access, according to a statement from the AGs office. It is alleged that the total was $40,000.
The funds, according to the indictment, were collected from agents for a banquet connected to a “Continuing Education Day” established by the insurance department. The commissioner is required by law to show that a producer had obtained a certain number of CE hours before renewing licenses and a CE Day was established.
A separate indictment accuses Fisher, Ellis and the foundation of failure to register a non-exempt charitable organization and failure to report contributions to a non-exempt charitable organization, the AGs office states.
One of the allegations in the indictments, according to Price, charges that Ellis demanded and received 10% of all sales made at vending machines installed in the insurance department headquarters between July 1999 and July 2003.