Former judge charged with cattle theft
KFAQ News Team
CREATED Jul. 29, 2013
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFAQ) - A former judge prosecutors described as the leader of a cattle theft ring has been named in indictments issued by an Oklahoma multi-county grand jury.
Former Lincoln County District Judge Craig Key of Chandler was charged with 26 felony charges including embezzlement and cattle theft. Key was handed five indictment charges in April and May 2013. The indictments had been previously sealed.
According to Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Special Ranger Kent Dowell, who lead the investigation into the cattle theft charges, in October 2012, 11 head of cattle were allegedly stolen from a northern Lincoln County rancher at the direction of Key. Dowell says further investigations revealed that Key was involved in numerous fraud and embezzlement schemes.
According to the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office, who investigated the suspect on other charges, Key, a former attorney, allegedly embezzled more than $475,000 from his clients.
Four other defendants were also charged in connection with these crimes.
“This is very complex investigation involving multiple suspects and multiple crimes,” said Dowell. “At the end of the day, though, this investigation started with a rancher noticing his cattle were missing, and thankfully, we were able to locate those stolen cattle and return them back to the owner.”
The grand jury will reconvene in August to hear more witness statements.
Key bonded out of the Lincoln County Jail Friday.