By Joshua Allen
ONL Staff Reporter
A felony embezzlement charge has been filed in the Okfuskee County District Court, alleging an Okemah man took money collected as donations for the Okemah Little League Association.
Robert William Vansant, Jr., 36, who is usually called ‘Robbie,’ is listed as the Okemah Little League administrator on the association’s website. He is accused of taking without permission at least $1,000 of Okemah Little League funds, according to an affidavit filed with the district court.
According to the affidavit, Vansant initially reported the money missing from his vehicle, telling police the cash belonged to the Okemah Little League Association.
Vansant went to the Okemah Police Department to do a polygraph examination on January 1 regarding the missing funds — this coming after he’d already reported the cash missing, the affidavit alleges.
The polygraph was administered by an Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper, while OPD Assistant Chief Doug Danker watched in another room via a closed-circuit television monitor.
Danker said he observed Vansant, following the first polygraph test, admitting to taking $60 from the money collected during the basketball games at the Okemah Little League’s games December 15, 2018.
According to Danker’s report, the accused stated during an interview with the testing trooper that he used the money to “purchase pizza from Simple Simon’s” in Okemah, claiming he took the pizza to his home where it was eaten by his kids, two of their friends and himself.”
That first test and interview were followed by a subsequent polygraph, which the trooper determined Vansant failed, according to the affidavit, informing him that the failure was in relation to the missing money.
The affidavit then alleges Vansant told the trooper that he taken money several times from the little league association to purchase food for his family after the games were over for the day.
“Robert (Vansant) stated he did not know exactly how much money he had taken, but he thought it to be around $600,” Danker stated in his report for the affidavit. “(He) also stated that he had put approximately $200 in gas in his vehicle while going to Sam’s to pick up items for the little league.”
Danker then said Vansant had not turned in any receipts for that gas he claimed to have purchased, adding that he “used the Okemah Little League’s Sam’s membership to purchase personal items, due to him not having a membership.”
Vansant claimed he did not use any little league money to make those personal purchased, according to the affidavit.
The trooper finished his interview, opening up the door for Danker to walk in, which resulted in Vansant telling the assistant chief the same things he’d told the trooper.
The report concluded with Vansant telling Danker that “he was going to resign from the little league and that he would make arrangements with the board to pay the money back.
At his initial appearance in the Okfuskee County District Court, he waived his right to be read his rights or have the felony information read aloud in court and entered a ‘not guilty’ plea before the judge.
He was released from jail after issuing a ‘promise to appear’ on January 10, just a few days after the polygraph.
The court set Vansant’s pre-conference hearing for January 24, initially. However, it was continued from then to March 7, and continued again — that is without either date having hearings of any kind.
The new date for the still-very-early preliminary conference is set for April 18 at 9:30 a.m.
More will be reported on this story as it is made available.