The Norman Transcript

Breaking News

Headlines

September 27, 2013

Man faces five embezzlement charges

NORMAN — The attorney general filed five counts of felonious embezzlement against a Norman man Thursday after he allegedly took money to build in-ground swimming pools but did not finish any of the projects.

In addition to the embezzlement charges Stephan Edgar Cook, 39, also was charged with a pattern of criminal offenses. According to the probable cause affidavit, Cook embezzled somewhere between $300,000 and $370,000 from several different people in Cleveland and McClain counties.

The individuals signed contracts with Cook and made a series of payments to him or his company, Cabanas Plus, to build the swimming pools. None of the projects were finished and had to be finished by other pool companies, the affidavit said.

The cases reported began as early as August 2011. The most recent case was in February 2012. In many of the cases, Cook would try to get the individuals to give him more money by telling them he had an employee that was embezzling money, the affidavit said.

One couple questioned why charges weren’t filed against the “employee” embezzling funds, Cook admitted to embezzling the funds himself.

“Cook admitted he had actually used the money to fund his alcohol and drug problem,” the affidavit said.

Another family that paid a total of $106,800 to Cook declined to loan him anymore money after eight months of payments. When it became obvious he was not going to finish their pool, they researched other installers and saw that the pool that initially enticed them to contract with Cook was designed and installed by another company, the document states.

Other couples who contracted with Cook lost around $50,000 and $23,000.

When a review was conducted of bank records for Cook and Cabanas Plus, it showed that deposits were made with customer funds intended for the purchase of materials and labor to construct the pools as contracted.

“The funds were generally used by Cook for his personal use and not as intended by the customers,” the affidavit said.

An enhancement page shows that Cook has previously been convicted of two counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance and maintaining a dwelling used to keep or sell a controlled dangerous substance.

Cook was convicted of the crimes in 1998 and 2002 in Cleveland and Oklahoma counties.

Jessica Bruha

366-3540

jbruha@normantranscript.com

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • movieposter Movie about Moore tornado survivors premieres May 16

    MOORE — Exploring ideas of faith and hope, an Oklahoma faith-based documentary on the May 20, 2013, EF-5 Moore tornado is scheduled to premiere at the Moore Warren Theatre May 16....

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Survivors observe 19th anniversary

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Survivors, rescue workers and the family members of victims of the Oklahoma City bombing have observed the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attack....

    April 20, 2014

  • Police arrest man connected to homicide

    Norman Police have arrested Abid Sandhu, 37 years old, of Norman, on a complaint of Murder in the First Degree. Formal charges have yet to be filed. At approximately 3:35 a.m. Saturday, the Norman Police Communications Center received a ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Cody’s Run raises $14,000

    Cody Ponder’s positive attitude was infectious even while he struggled with esophageal cancer. He always worked to help others and his giving spirit inspired a 5k race to benefit struggling patients. Last year Cody’s family organized a run ...

    April 20, 2014

  • State budget talks center on cuts

    OKLAHOMA CITY — With six weeks left in the 2014 session, behind-the-scenes negotiations among the House, Senate and governor’s office are ramping up on how to plug a $188 million hole in the budget and fund programs for education, public ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Dental groups oppose measure

    TULSA — Some Oklahoma dental groups are opposing a bill in the state Legislature, proposed as a reaction to the case of an oral surgeon accused of maintaining filthy office conditions, that deals with training requirements for oral surgery ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Former mayor files for county office

    Local physician and former Norman Mayor Harold Haralson recently filed his candidacy for the Cleveland County Commission District 3 seat....

    April 20, 2014

  • Selling Norman is love at first sight

    Meeting planners who make a site visit to Norman tend to fall in love, convention and hospitality experts said this week. The staff of the Norman Convention and Visitors Bureau are commissioned with the job of promoting tourism and selling ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Green House is a homegrown business

    Nancy Muenzler was a banker in her previous life. That was before the Green House, 1708 SW 24th Street, became her passion....

    April 20, 2014

  • Conan’s martial arts moves downtown

    Conan’s Kickboxing, Karate, Boxing, Jujitsu, MMA Academy is celebrating the grand opening of a new facility right in the heart of downtown Norman at 310 E. Main St. Founded in 1996 by four-time World Kickboxing Champion Scott “Conan” ...

    April 20, 2014