Brian Hampton, who stole more than $320,000 from East Central University while working as the school’s bursar, was arrested by the U.S. marshals at his mother’s house in Ada on Monday morning, more than two and a half years after a warrant had been issued for his arrest.
Lance Hancock, the enforcement supervisor for the Eastern Oklahoma Violent Crime Fugitive Task Force, said U.S. marshals decided in October to look for Hampton owing to “the attention that the case has by the public.”
“Task force officer Cody Vaughn was assigned this case, and over the last couple of weeks, he did the research on it and worked it up,” Hancock said. “Basically what they did [Monday] morning, they were going to do a follow-up interview at his last known address there in Ada. (…) When they arrived and made contact with Mr. Hampton’s mother, what I was told is that it was quite evident that Mr. Hampton was inside the residence. Shortly thereafter, they took Mr. Hampton into custody without incident.”
Hampton was booked into the Pontotoc County Jail on Monday.
“Our guys, they had been doing some surveillance around that location (of his mother’s house) in Ada and had not seen Mr. Hampton,” Hancock said. “So basically the decision was made to make contact this morning, and it ultimately led to his arrest.”
Hampton was charged March 7, 2020, with embezzlement and computer fraud after he admitted to ECU officials and police that he had stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars in deposits and sporting event receipts from the university, beginning in August 2019. Hampton returned more than $222,000 to ECU, but $98,765 remained missing, according to an audit paid for by the university.
Hampton told police that he had taken the money to help a female friend who was in need. NonDoc has learned that Hampton sent money to a young woman from Colorado who sold videos of herself on the internet.
NonDoc has also reviewed private statements made by Hampton that allege the “cover up” of financial and sexual misconduct at East Central University, including alleged misuse of the school’s miscellaneous scholarship account and the existence of digital files containing sexual images of students and employees. It is not clear whether Hampton has made those allegations to law enforcement now that he has been arrested.
Charged with embezzlement in 2020, former ECU bursar still free by Megan Prather & Joe Tomlinson
Hancock said the Pontotoc County District Attorney’s Office would likely be tasked with interviewing and prosecuting Hampton.
“I have heard a little chatter about the Attorney General’s Office, but to my knowledge they have not taken the case,” Hancock said.
Pontotoc County District Attorney Paul Smith said Tuesday that he had not heard of Hampton’s arrest and that he would be revisiting the case. Smith, who leaves office at the end of the year, said he was unaware of Hampton’s allegations regarding activities at ECU.
“That’s all news to me,” Smith said. “We will be looking into the details of the case we have filed.”
Amy Ford, ECU’s vice president for institutional advancement, said she had not heard of Hampton’s arrest or concerns about other alleged financial or sexual misconduct. Ford confirmed that ECU has a miscellaneous scholarship account.
“We are relieved to learn that an arrest has been made,” Ford said. “We have great confidence that the Pontotoc County District Attorney Office will review all facts and handle appropriately.”
Brian Hampton omitted from national database
When Hampton was charged in March 2020, officers visited his mother’s home in east Ada but said they located only his mother, not Hampton, according to ECU Police Chief Bert Miller.
In April 2022, another East Central University police officer who worked on the Hampton investigation said it would be “just a matter of time” until Hampton was arrested because the Pontotoc County warrant would be made accessible to law enforcement around the country.
“If he gets pulled over for a speeding ticket and they run his name, they will arrest him,” ECU police officer Glen Jones said. “Say if he’s in New Hampshire, for example, if he gets pulled over and they run his name, he’ll have a warrant and they will pick him up and he’ll be extradited back to Oklahoma.”
But multiple people with knowledge of the situation told NonDoc that Brian Hampton had not been entered into the National Crime Information Center database for the 2020 ECU embezzlement charge until recently.
“That was my understanding,” Hancock said.
Although Hampton avoided arrest for more than two and a half years, Hancock declined to comment on whether he believed local law enforcement had been looking for Hampton during that time.
Hampton’s ex-wife is Janet Wansick, president of Eastern Oklahoma State College in Wilburton. They have one daughter, who is grown.
“It’s been over 15 years since I’ve seen him, and I really don’t know any details about the embezzlement or anything that happened there,” Wansick said in April.
Wansick is now married to former McAlester Police Chief Gary Wansick, who retired in May 2020. Janet Wansick became EOSC president six weeks later.
Rep. Ronny Johns (R-Ada) said embezzlement from a public institution should be fully investigated and prosecuted.
“As an alumnus of ECU, I am glad this individual will be held responsible for his actions,” Johns said. “When funds go missing at a state university, it’s always important for transparency sake, to find out how it happens and then take appropriate action to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
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