Kellerman faces additional charges

KELLERMAN, David A.

By Traci Chapman

A Mustang man accused of embezzlement in connection with his employment with the Oklahoma American Legion now faces new charges.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt on June 10 filed one felony and one misdemeanor drug charge against David Austin Kellerman. The 43-year-old Mustang man was charged in January with felony embezzlement in a federal case filed in Canadian County District Court. District Attorney Michael Fields said Tuesday the Kellerman charges were the first he could recall filed by the attorney general in District 4 since he took office.

“The AG’s office has a multi-county grand jury with statewide jurisdiction, they have a Medicare fraud unit that investigates and prosecutes fraud and abuse cases and they have a consumer protection unit that investigates and prosecutes consumer scams,” Fields stated via email.

District 4 encompasses Canadian, Garfield, Blaine, Grant and Kingfisher counties. Officials at the attorney general’s office said the original embezzlement charges stemmed from an indictment issues by the multi-county grand jury.

The new charges involve one count of felony possession of a controlled dangerous substance – methamphetamine – as well as drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor. If convicted, Kellerman could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $5,000 on the felony charge.

Kellerman’s embezzlement case is set for a July 28 preliminary hearing, after being postponed three times since it was originally scheduled in February. On June 18, Oklahoma City attorney R. Scott Adams, listed as defense counsel, filed a motion to withdraw as Kellerman’s attorney, based on the Mustang man’s “inability to make the appropriate financial arrangements.” Special Judge Jack McCurdy signed an order allowing Adams’ withdrawal June 18. It was unknown whether that would impact the July 28 hearing date. Kellerman also faces a July 28 preliminary hearing on the drug charges, according to Oklahoma State Courts Network.

Kellerman served as Oklahoma American Legion state adjutant from September 2003 until December 2011. Investigators said Kellerman was charged with collecting historical weapons loaned to American Legion posts across the state by the U.S. Department of the Army. Once a post disbanded or stopped using those rifles, they were to be returned to the Army. Investigators said that didn’t happen under Kellerman’s watch.

Kellerman allegedly sold the Army’s rifles to various individuals, including the owner of El Reno-based Star Amusement, Adlai Stevenson Brinkley. Brinkley himself is the subject of federal criminal charges in a case where Kellerman is listed as a witness.

The investigations into both Kellerman and Brinkley took place over a period of several months, according to court documents. During a March 2013 raid, investigators seized gambling machines they said were operated illegally by Star Amusement for 22 years. Machines were located in various locations throughout Oklahoma and Kansas, including the American Legion Post in El Reno. It was a meeting at that post that tipped investigators to Kellerman’s alleged criminal activity, they said.

According to the probable cause affidavit filed in Kellerman’s case, U.S. Department of Homeland Security special agent Eric Coburn met with Kellerman and others in August 2013 at El Reno American Legion Post. While there, Coburn said he learned of an alleged “scheme” involving the sale of the rifles for Kellerman’s “personal profit.” Three of the El Reno post’s rifles were “missing,” and a witness named J.C. Taylor said Kellerman sold them to Brinkley, Coburn said.

Brinkley allegedly purchased as many as 120 rifles from Kellerman in 2012 for about $350 each. When investigators searched Brinkley’s home in connection with the Star Amusement illegal gambling warrants, Coburn alleged in his report he found the three rifles missing from the El Reno post there.

Kellerman’s alleged thefts took place between January 2010 and December 2011, AG investigators said. If convicted on the embezzlement charges, Kellerman could serve five years in prison and pay a $5,000 fine.

In July 2012, Kellerman received a deferred sentence on three misdemeanor counts – possession of controlled dangerous substance and paraphernalia and driving while under the influence. As part of that deferment, Kellerman was placed on probation until July 18, 2014, which meant the Mustang man agreed “not to violate any statutes of the state or federal government or any municipal ordinances.”

It was not known whether that deferred sentence would be impacted by the 2014 charges filed against Kellerman.