MIAMI, Okla. — With only two weeks left of his term, Ottawa County Sheriff Jeremy Floyd has been accused in the disputed improper use of about $1,100 in county money in 2018 and making a false statement this year in his candidacy declaration for a second term.
He was arrested Friday morning after members of the 18th Oklahoma Multicounty Grand Jury issued an indictment Thursday. Floyd is free on a $50,000 bond.
Miami police officers made the arrest at Floyd's home. A bench warrant had been issued earlier in the day by Judge Jennifer McAffrey. He was taken to the Miami police station for processing before being booked into and released from the Ottawa County Jail.
Russell Earls, District 3 county commissioner, said he was unsuccessful in contacting Floyd.
“I called to ask for his resignation,” Earls said, noting Floyd has two weeks left on his term in office. “Our undersheriff is scheduled to leave on the 22nd, and it would be nice if Jeremy would tender his resignation so our new incoming sheriff (David Dean) could be sworn in early. It would help us continue operating things as normal in the sheriff’s department.”
Multiple attempts by phone and text message to contact Floyd for a statement were unsuccessful on Friday.
A charge of embezzlement against Floyd stems from a dispute regarding the use of $1,132.78 in March when, according to the indictment filed in Ottawa County District Court, Floyd “willfully, feloniously and fraudulently, without authorization appropriated money” to use for a plane ticket for his wife to attend a law enforcement seminar in Las Vegas.
The funds were discovered after county commissioners asked for an audit of the sheriff’s department. Earls said as of Friday, Floyd had not offered to refund the county.
“I’m not at all surprised,” Earls said of the embezzlement charge. “We’ve been dealing with this for a long time and going through the motions, through the investigative audit we asked for two years ago, the (Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation) investigation, and the AG’s office vetting everything.”
“We’re going to manage things in the sheriff’s department the best we can,” Earls said. “Hopefully Jeremy will tender his resignation. If not, we’ll rely on Undersheriff Dan Cook and ask Dan to stay on through Dec. 31.”
Ottawa County District Attorney Kenny Wright said he, too, was not surprised by the grand jury’s indictment.
“At the end of the day, he spent taxpayer money to fly his wife out there,” Wright said. “Now how serious of a crime, or what the appropriate punishment should be, will be figured out further down the road.”
A perjury charge stems from Floyd’s declaration of candidacy form, filed on April 9, 2020, as he sought a second term in office.
The indictment states Floyd declared under oath he had not been arrested for the crime of embezzlement or ever been on any type of probation for the crime of embezzlement, “when in fact Jeremy Floyd knew that the statement was not true.”
The case contends that in the late 2000s, Floyd was arrested and charged with embezzlement in Sequoyah County following an investigation into missing funds during his tenure as chief of police for the city of Vian.
“When you file a declaration of candidacy, there's two things you swear to: that you haven’t (pleaded) guilty or no contest to a misdemeanor or felony,” Wright said. “The other ... is if you have ever been arrested or a warrant has been issued for your arrest for misdemeanor or felony embezzlement.”
Wright said in both instances, it does not matter if the terms of a deferred sentencing arrangement may have included a local expungement of the crime or a grand expungement, which includes erasure of the charges from OSBI or FBI records.
In the case of a local expungement, Wright said, records are sealed regarding the case, but the charges and court findings would still appear on the individual's criminal background check.
“Unless he (Floyd) chooses to voluntarily resign, he can remain sheriff until the end of his term, when David (Dean) takes over," Wright said. "Just like any other criminal case, all he is facing is an allegation."
“The facts responsible for both of those charges are pretty straightforward,” Wright said, but he did add there still are some remaining questions.
Incoming Sheriff David Dean said Floyd is due his day in court, just like other defendants. He indicated should Floyd resign, he is willing to step into office early.
As of now, Dean said he will assume the sheriff’s role on Jan. 1. His first day in the office is slated for Monday, Jan. 4, when an incoming audit takes place. He will be sworn into office on Jan. 5.