Former Oklahoma Senate president pro-tem Finis Smith, along with his wife Doris, were convicted by a federal court jury here on felony counts of mail and tax fraud, conspiracy and failure to disclose foreign bank accounts. Finis and Doris Smith, each got six years, and were sent to a federal prison in Texas.
The Daily Oklahoman put it this way..
A federal jury Thursday afternoon found former state Sen. Finis Smith and his wife, former Tulsa County automobile tag agent Doris Smith, guilty of 18 counts each of mail fraud, tax fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy.
The jury deliberated slightly less than eight hours, announcing at 12:35 p.m. that it had reached a verdict. The Smiths gazed stoically ahead as Presiding U.S. District Judge H. Dale Cook's clerk read the verdict on each count. As the verdict was announced, defense attorney Carl Hughes lowered his head to his arms on the table in front of him.
The jury found the Smiths guilty of conspiring to put three family members and a longtime friend in charge of four Tulsa County tag agencies after Doris Smith resigned in 1977 as county tag agent. The Smiths siphoned $68,000 from the four agencies in 1978 through office equipment lease-purchases with the four agents. The jury found that the Smiths illegally waited until filing their 1981 tax returns to report the income.
The jury found that the Smiths sent $50,000 of the lease-purchase proceeds to a bank in Tampico, Mexico, where they opened a series of savings and investment accounts. The couple conspired to hide the accounts' existence from the federal government, the jury ruled, and willfully failed to disclose their ownership of the accounts on their 1978 through 1982 tax returns. The Smiths claimed that the money belonged to a Mexican friend, even though the accounts were in their names.
The Smiths were found guilty of buying two obsolete check-proofing machines for $100, then donating them to the Tulsa County Area Vocational-Technical School and fraudulently claiming the machines were worth $34,000 on their 1979 tax returns.
The jury also found the Smiths guilty of mailing letters to the county assessor's office, falsely claiming that Doris Smith's Dorokee Co. had no taxable assets.
|A Tulsa park had been named after Finis Smith. |
It was promptly renamed The Challenger Seven park (after
the astronauts killed in a shuttle disaster around that time).
Finis Smith and his wife, former Tulsa tag agent Doris Smith, were released as scheduled Monday from the Federal Correctional Institute in Fort Worth, prison officials said. The Smiths were convicted in November 1985 of mail fraud, tax evasion and failure to report a foreign bank account. They were sentenced to six years in prison.
Last March, U.S. District Judge H. Dale Cook granted the Smiths an indeterminate sentence. The U.S. Parole Commission announced in October that the Smiths would be paroled March 30. Tulsa U.S. Attorney Layn Phillips agreed not to oppose the granting of an indeterminate sentence if the couple would promise not to appeal the conviction.
Federal court records show the Smiths paid more than $90,000 in fines and court costs in March 1986.In 1992, Finis Smith applied to be reinstated to the bar.
The couple could have faced up to 73 years in prison and $2.7 million in fines. After Smith's conviction, the state Supreme Court suspended Smith from practicing law for five years, effective March 1986.
His attorney, state Sen. Gene Stipe, D-McAlester, filed the petition for reinstatement. Smith, 65, told the court he now lives in a trailer in Tulsa. He and his wife's income has gone from $200,000 to nothing, he said.
"My abode was and is a travel trailer presently located
Smith said in the affidavit attached to the petition. The statement said he has been a legal resident of Tulsa County for six years, although he has traveled to Texas, Arizona and Washington.Finis Smith died in 2005. Doris died in 2013.