Lawton councilmember charged with embezzlement

Lawton councilmember charged with embezzlement
Councilman Caleb Davis is accused of embezzling $6,000 intended for three other councilmembers campaigns.

LAWTON, OK (TNN) - A misdemeanor embezzlement charge against Ward 3 Lawton City Councilman Caleb Davis has been filed by the State of Oklahoma with the Comanche County District Attorney’s office.

According to court documents, Davis is accused of embezzling $6,000 intended to go towards the campaigns of three other city councilmembers via the group “Think Lawton,” which Davis is listed as the administrator and moderator.

Documents say Lawton resident Preston Gates told investigators he gave Davis a check on May 20, 2017 during an event at Lake Lawtonka with the intention of the money going to support the campaigns of Onreka Johnson, Sean Fortenbaugh and Randy Warren. The court documents say Gates wrote “6,7,8” in the memo section of the check in reference to the separate candidates wards they represent.

The OSBI alleges that Davis took the check and, according to bank records, opened an account at a local bank two days later before depositing the check and then immediately withdrawing $5,500.

Records obtained by the OSBI show that no money was ever contributed to two of the three campaigns by “Think Lawton.” Councilman Randy Warren was given $1,400 from Think Lawton in “in kind” advertising, but paid $800 back.

In the court filing, the OSBI states that they attempted to interview Councilman Davis about the situation on January 18, 2019 but were told he would not make a statement without his attorney present. It is unclear, based on the court documents, if an interview ever took place.

7News has reached out to the Gates family and they said they have no comment at this time per legal advice. We also contacted Councilman Davis and were told he was going to speak to his lawyer before talking with us about the situation.

The Lawton City Council is set to meet for their normal meeting tonight. Davis said he will be in attendance.

You can count on us to keep you updated as new information is learned.

Story was updated to clarify that Randy Warren’s campaign received part of the money allegedly intended for him.

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