Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt announced that the 15th multicounty grand jury returned an accusation for removal for Rogers County Commissioner Michael Earl Helm. The accusation for removal also requests the district court to order the immediate suspension of Helm from his duties as Rogers County commissioner pending trial.
The multicounty grand jury also issued two indictments, charging one count of embezzlement exceeding $1,000 and one count of embezzlement exceeding $500, against Helm for allegedly selling a county pickup truck and never turning over the proceeds of that sale to Rogers County, as required by law.
For the indictment returned Thursday, Helm faces up to five years in prison and a fine up to $5,000 for the embezzlement count exceeding $1,000, and up to one year in prison and a fine up to $5,000 for the embezzlement count exceeding $500.
The grand jury indicted Helm in July on one count of conspiracy and one count of embezzlement exceeding $1,000 for allegedly selecting a private contractor to perform highway improvements without going through the public bidding process, and for selling scrap metal belonging to the county but failing to deposit the cash into county accounts. Helm faces additional prison time and fines for those charges.
The state’s multicounty grand jury in 2013, at Pruitt’s request, began review of multiple allegations of wrongdoing by Rogers County officials that were first raised by a grand jury petition circulated and signed by thousands of citizens of the county. Additional allegations of wrongdoing have been received from Rogers County citizens that have resulted in the filing of charges against Helm.
The multicounty grand jury has jurisdiction to investigate criminal matters in all 77 counties, assisting local law enforcement as well as handling matters of state interest. The grand jurors meet regularly to hear testimony in the matters being considered by the grand jury. The proceedings are closed to the public.