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Charged OKC councilman surrenders Tuesday, makes first court appearance in embezzlement case

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News | May 17, 2018

John Pettis arraigned

Oklahoma City Councilman John A. Pettis Jr. had an unusual reason for not showing up Tuesday morning to the weekly city council meeting.

He was down the street being fingerprinted and photographed at the Oklahoma County jail.

Pettis, 35, was charged Friday with three counts of embezzlement and one count of intentionally failing to file income tax returns. Prosecutors allege he lived for years off donations made to three charities under his control.

Pettis turned himself in just before 8 a.m. on Tuesday. He left the jail before 9 a.m. for court. He smiled as he walked out of the jail, ignoring a barrage of questions asked by news reporters.

Related Photos

Charged Oklahoma City Councilman John A. Pettis Jr. made his first court appearance Tuesday. [Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman Archives]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-4de412a615ff65fbdf6e4e92db471225.jpg" alt="Photo - Charged Oklahoma City Councilman John A. Pettis Jr. made his first court appearance Tuesday. [Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman Archives] " title=" Charged Oklahoma City Councilman John A. Pettis Jr. made his first court appearance Tuesday. [Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman Archives] "><figcaption> Charged Oklahoma City Councilman John A. Pettis Jr. made his first court appearance Tuesday. [Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman Archives] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-e9476f34edd82ddb3d026a8d85945f4b.jpg" alt="Photo - Charged Oklahoma City Councilman John A. Pettis Jr. made his first court appearance Tuesday. [Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman] " title=" Charged Oklahoma City Councilman John A. Pettis Jr. made his first court appearance Tuesday. [Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Charged Oklahoma City Councilman John A. Pettis Jr. made his first court appearance Tuesday. [Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-982d00b7a9cd93fc2f53d23b9ba51f95.jpg" alt="Photo - Charged Oklahoma City Councilman John A. Pettis Jr. surrendered Tuesday at the Oklahoma County jail in his embezzlement case. [Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman] " title=" Charged Oklahoma City Councilman John A. Pettis Jr. surrendered Tuesday at the Oklahoma County jail in his embezzlement case. [Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Charged Oklahoma City Councilman John A. Pettis Jr. surrendered Tuesday at the Oklahoma County jail in his embezzlement case. [Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure>

Immediately after, Pettis made his first court appearance with his attorney. During the arraignment, a judge set Pettis' next court date for June 14. A plea of not guilty was recorded on his behalf. He is free on his own recognizance.

Pettis is suspected of converting at least $165,000 from the three charities to his personal use, records show.

Pettis, a Democrat, is expected to resign from his Ward 7 council seat and halt his campaign for Oklahoma County commissioner.

As a councilman, Pettis makes $12,000 a year.

Kyle Schwab

Kyle Schwab has been a reporter for The Oklahoman newspaper since 2013. He currently covers Oklahoma City courts. He graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma with a major in journalism. He... Read more ›

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