- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 24, 2015

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - A federal jury has convicted an Oklahoma man for defrauding the charitable foundation run by former University of Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles.

Broyles, who worked for more than a half-century at the school, created the foundation after his wife, Barbara, died from complications related to Alzheimer’s disease in 2004. Prosecutors alleged that Kelly Nichols, a family friend, was paid $267,000 by the foundation to print copies of Boyles’ book, “Coach Broyles’ Playbook for Alzheimer’s Caregivers,” but that he instead spent the money on personal expenses.

The Tulsa World reported (https://bit.ly/1Hk8Mlw ) that Nichols was convicted Monday on one mail fraud count, two money-laundering counts and three bankruptcy-fraud counts. Nichols faces up to 20 years in prison for mail fraud, up to 10 years for each money-laundering count and up to five years for each bankruptcy-fraud conviction. Sentencing was set for March 8.

During trial, Nichols‘ attorney argued that his client mismanaged money but cared deeply about helping Alzheimer’s caregivers.

“Being a bad businessman is not a crime,” defense attorney Julie Linnen told jurors during closing arguments.

According to testimony, Nichols was among those at Barbara Broyles’ bedside when she died.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Leitch said Nichols was religious and a “nice guy,” but that he failed to honor the foundation’s wishes for a third reprinting of the caregivers’ book, after a poor second reprinting.

Elizabeth “Betsy” Arnold, the Broyles’ daughter, said a 600,000-copy second printing was poorly done and that the family wanted them reprinted.

“I was devastated,” she said. “It made us look like we were too cheap to print a good book.”

The foundation paid Nichols $267,000 in two equal installments as partial payment for a third reprinting. After the books didn’t arrive, Nichols told Arnold he couldn’t refund the foundation’s money because he had already spent it, Arnold testified.


Information from: Tulsa World, https://www.tulsaworld.com

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