Former Oklahoma Commissioner Pleads No Contest to Bribe Charges

February 11, 2009

Former Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Carroll Fisher has pleaded no contest to accepting bribes and has been ordered to spend six months in a private lock down facility, where he will be eligible for a work release program.

Oklahoma County District Judge Kenneth Watson said that the 69-year-old Fisher will spend four years and six more months on probation after his release.

The judge said Fisher must pay $5,000 to a state victims’ compensation fund.

Prosecutors had asked the judge to sentence Fisher to seven years in prison plus three more years on probation. The judge showed Fisher some leniency because he had already served time in prison for embezzling $1,000 of his own campaign funds and for lying on a contributions report.

In the bribery case, Fisher was accused of receiving gifts and gratuities from Texas businessman Gene Phillips, his family and business associates in exchange for favorable treatment. Prosecutors allege the illegal gifts include a $25,000 check, $25,000 in post-election campaign contributions and about $20,000 in custom-made office furniture.

Fisher denied wrongdoing. His attorneys described the $25,000 check as a loan that was repaid.

Phillips has not been charged and denied bribing Fisher.

Fisher, a Tulsa Democrat, was insurance commissioner for nearly six years before resigning in September 2004.

He was found guilty in the campaign corruption case at trial in February 2006 and was given a three-year prison term.

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