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Auditor Pleads Guilty

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By Associated Press

Oklahoma City – OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) A former auditor for the Commissioners of the Land Office in Oklahoma has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $1 million from the agency.

Roger Melson pleaded guilty Friday to 174 counts of embezzlement and faces up to 20 years in prison on each count. Oklahoma County District Judge Kenneth Watson scheduled sentencing for Nov. 9.

Melson was director of audit for the royalty audit division. His job was to make sure oil and gas royalties from mineral leases on the lands were properly collected.

Defense attorney Billy Bock described Melson as a "gamblaholic" and says he took the money to feed a gambling habit that he has since overcome.

Melson allegedly took. $1.164 million from the office which manages lands for the benefit of the state's public schools.