MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

March 16, 2013

Pair charged with embezzlement

Ex-jail worker’s case involves payment for concealed-gun permit applications

— A former detention officer and her boyfriend were charged Friday in Muskogee County District Court with embezzlement.

Kendra Knotchapone, 29, and Elijah Harjo, 30, both of Muskogee, walked into the police department about 6:45 p.m. Thursday to be booked, according to booking records.

Knotchapone faces three counts of felony embezzlement by county employee. Harjo faces three counts of felony conspiracy.

Both posted $5,000 bond and were released about an hour after being booked into the Muskogee County/City Detention Facility.

Jail supervisor Joe Hughart said Knotchapone was a detention officer whose primary duties involved the fingerprinting department.

“She quit several months ago and took another job,” Hughart said.

“Shortly after she left, we started getting calls from people not getting their concealed carry license.”

A court affidavit says three money orders totaling $500 were appropriated by Knotchapone for her use in early September.

Law enforcement authorities believed Knotchapone fled to another state just days after a warrant was issued for her and Harjo on Feb. 8, according to a Feb. 12 Phoenix story.

Rae Lea Spears, a sheriff’s department investigator, said Knotchapone was accused of taking blank money orders from applicants for a concealed carry license.

Knotchapone allegedly made the money orders out to herself, then had Harjo cash them.

A court affidavit says Knotchapone told Spears that she wrote the money orders and gave them to Harjo.

More charges could be added if more victims are found or come forward.

Felony embezzlement by a county employee is punishable by one to five years imprisonment and/or a $5,000 fine plus restitution to the victims for each count.

Felony conspiracy is punishable by imprisonment of up to 10 years in prison and/or a $5,000 for each count.

Knotchapone and Harjo are to return to court for sounding docket hearings at 9 a.m. April 1.

Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or wburton@muskogeephoenix.com.

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