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Fmr. interim Colbert police chief facing felony charge for embezzling over $10 thousand

Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 3:00 PM CST
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COLBERT, Okla. (KXII) - The former interim Colbert police chief, and the town’s court clerk, is accused of stealing $10,333 in traffic citation fines for almost a year.

Maria Vannier, also known as Michelle Vannier, is accused of embezzling tax payer money (less than $15,000) from the town, a felony charge, from around May of 2020 to around May of 2021 the Bryan County District Attorney’s Office confirmed.

“It’s pretty interesting but not really surprising in this town,” said Courtney McDaniel.

McDaniel said she got a traffic ticket from Colbert Police two years ago, presumably before Vannier started pocketing the money, but said she never received a letter or notice to pay her fine.

“You would want it to go where it needs to go, not to somebody because you want to show that you paid it,” McDaniel said.

The town of Colbert did not confirm is Vannier is still an employee and would not speak on the matter.

One former city council member we spoke with told us this is the kind of “corruption” that made her leave the city government.

“You would get jail time for something like that, that’s a lot of people’s money that should be going to tickets or something it’s not,” McDaniel said. “They could have fixed up some of these places around here, put in a new restaurant or put something in for the kids to do.”

Vannier was named interim police chief of the town in 2015 and then again in March of 2017 after Frank Burrola was fired over human resources complaints that he had not filled out a schedule and was “insubordinate.”

If convicted Vannier faces up to five years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine.

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