Melissa Morton has been sentenced to 57 months in federal prison and ordered to pay back $2.3 million she embezzled from the Oklahoma Beef Council (OBC) over the course of seven years. Morton’s prison sentence will be followed by five years of supervised release. Morton, a former employee of an Oklahoma accounting firm, pleaded guilty to stealing about $2.68 million from OBC, the state’s beef checkoff arm, and has paid about 10 percent of that money back. The IRS is also demanding back taxes after ruling that the $2.68 million was taxable income. Tom Fanning, former chair of the OBC, told the Oklahoma Farm Report that he thought Morton’s embezzlement cost the group far more than $2.68 million. The case was a common talking point among those opposed to a proposed increase in Oklahoma’s beef checkoff; that assessment increase failed last year. OBC has also filed a lawsuit against its former auditor, Arledge & Associates, saying the audit opinions it filed were “incorrect and misleading” and that the auditor “had failed to reasonably and properly perform a risk assessment of OBC.”