(Stillwater, Okla.) — The owner-homebuilder of Peaceful Pine Cabins who is accused of embezzling a total of $100,071.56 from four clients in Stillwater between Nov. 6, 2012, and July 22, 2013, has been ordered to appear in Payne County District Court for a pre-trial hearing on Dec. 11.
If convicted of four counts of embezzlement, Carl Retherford, 36, of Tulsa, who has filed bankruptcy according to an investigator’s affidavit, could be given as much as a 30-year prison term and a $30,000 fine, court records show.
Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Lynda Stevens said that when she interviewed Retherford on Nov. 5, 2014, he “reported his skill set was carpentry and not finance,” according to her affidavit.
“On July 19, 2013, Retherford filed bankruptcy due to financial difficulties.
“Retherford reported he wasn’t good with the financial aspect of running his business.
“Retherford never hired anyone to run the financial aspect of his business such as keeping track of the business funds that were spent vs. what funds were coming in.
“Retherford reported the way he conducted the financial aspect of his business was running and keeping track of numbers in his head, which he believed was negligent on his part.
“Some time before June 2013, Retherford realized his business was falling behind financially.
“Retherford stated he was running short on money to pay people.
“Retherford ran his business the following way: All money Retherford received for his business was deposited into his bank account.
“Retherford would receive money from one client and turn around and pay a business or subcontractor for work or material on a different client’s home.
“When Retherford filed bankruptcy, Retherford knew there were between six and seven home construction jobs he left unfinished with multiple businesses/subcontractors he owed money to along with the clients from his contracts.
“Retherford believed he owed approximately $250,000 to individuals and businesses with whom he conducted business,” the affidavit alleged.
However, in Payne County, Retherford is charged with embezzling:
* $36,580.57 from Nov. 6, 2012, through July 22, 2013, from a Stillwater couple who had paid him $271,245.95 to build a house on their land near Sangre Road and Yost Road;
* $28,048.00 from May 31, 2013, through July 22, 2013, from a Stillwater couple who had paid him $52,000, which was 10 percent of the total sum to build a house on their land near Country Club Road and Airport Road;
* $18,604.99 from March 1, 2013, through July 22,2013, from a Stillwater man who had paid him $179,440 to build three cabins on his property located on Tiftin Trails;
* $16,838.00 from June 14, 2013, through July 22, 2013, from a Stillwater couple who had paid him $16,838, which was 10 percent of the total sum to build their home near Country Club Road and Reese Landing.
Following the OSBI investigation, Retherford was arrested and released on $10,000 bond on June 15, court records show.
Two and one-half months later, Retherford waived his right to have a preliminary hearing on the four-count embezzlement charge and was ordered to stand trial, the date of which has not been set.