A former regional human resources manager at Newfield Exploration Mid-Continent Inc. pleaded guilty in federal court in Oklahoma to embezzling $693,300 from the company.

James Rhea Cooley, 45, of Tulsa, was charged with one count of wire fraud and three counts of willfully making and subscribing a false federal income tax return.

In 2008, he formed a consulting company, Total HR Service and Consulting, created a website, and opened a bank account. He would then falsify invoices for services that had not been performed, and deposit the payment check from Newfield Exploration Mid-Continent Inc. into the nonexistent consulting company’s bank account, prosecutors said.

The scheme continued until 2011.

Cooley spent the embezzled money on personal expenses, the DOJ said.

As part of his plea deal, Cooley agreed to a criminal forfeiture of $693,300.

He’s set to be sentenced on February 25, 2014 before U.S. District Judge James H. Payne.


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