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Published May 11 2012

Fargo native ordered to repay $630K

STILLWATER, Okla. – A former Fargo bar owner and Moorhead high school social studies teacher pleaded no contest and was ordered to repay more than $630,000 in restitution on Friday on charges he defrauded an Oklahoma State University football official.

Bradley James Stroup, 49, former owner of The 21st Amendment bar in downtown Fargo, entered the pleas to three felony fraud charges and one count of embezzlement in a hearing in Payne County District Court, court records say. A racketeering charge was also dismissed Friday.

Judge Phillip Corley sentenced Stroup to pay restitution of $606,634.26, to be paid to the victim on Friday, and interest of $25,000, to be paid over the next five years, court records show.

Stroup was also ordered to two years of supervised probation.

The sentences were deferred for five years, meaning they could be wiped from his record if he successfully completes probation and avoid being convicted of other crimes.

He had faced prison terms as long as 30 years if he were convicted.

The Fargo native was arrested in Colorado in 2008 on a warrant out of Oklahoma, accused of defrauding OSU football operations director Jimmy Gonzales, who started the Mya Gonzales Foundation, a nonprofit organization for children with special needs.

Stroup was accused of having obtained $95,000 in 2005 and $50,000 in 2006 of Gonzales’ money after claiming that he was working a major deal with the Virginia Teachers Association and needed Gonzales to invest money.

Stroup was also accused of having obtained $425,000 belonging to the nonprofit in 2006 after he told Gonzales that he had a land deal that would make money.

He asked Gonzales to invest money owned by the nonprofit, when, in fact, he “kept the monies for his own use and benefit,” prosecutors had alleged in court records.

Among the money he allegedly defrauded was $425,000 donated by Texas oilman and OSU donor T. Boone Pickens.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535

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