Growing up I remember many catchy showtunes and bylines that peppered Oklahoma airwaves. From BC Clark’s anniversary sale to Big Red Sports and Imports at I-35 and Norman! The former would have me singing every year while away with the Navy at Christmas time (even pulling up the song on Spotify), and the latter – well, was memorable but seemingly forgotten until recently. Now, it’s clear that Big Red put their customers in gummy situations and recent developments in that case makes the story much spicier (pun intended) and even include the Democrat candidate for Oklahoma County DA, Vicki Behenna.
Late last year, a federal jury convicted Big Red CEO Chris Mayes and two employees on charges of wire fraud, conspiracy, forgery, and identity theft. The dealership was submitting fraudulent credit applications to Tinker Federal Credit Union which, in reliance upon those applications, was financing car loans at the dealership. Ironically, the jury spent less time deliberating than Big Red probably spent processing these fake applications to rip people off. One of the fellow employees convicted, Courtney Wells, was allowed to go home on probation until sentencing.
Now that you have the short backstory, here is where things get interesting to say the least.
Skip forward several months of Wells awaiting her sentencing date, compliantly. Wanting to spend some quality time with her only daughter that was just graduating high school, Wells was granted permission to travel to Branson, MO for Mother’s Day. However, Wells and her boyfriend disappeared on May 2nd, 2022 (the first day of their trip), have not been seen since, and both of their cell phones went dark that same day within 20 minutes of each other. While it could be argued that they are on the run, what happened next raises some serious questions.
Queue the attorneys for Mayes (which includes Vicki Behenna, the Democratic candidate for Oklahoma County District Attorney) who filed a motion to have the conviction thrown while demanding a new trial.
Why? Because on May 3rd, 2022, one day after Wells went missing, she allegedly sent Mayes two emails that included her confession and completely absolves Mayes. Additionally, a trove of never-before-seen deleted emails was miraculously discovered in Wells’ office at Big Red that support this confession.
This confession email was sent from Wells’s Big Red email account to Mayes’s personal Gmail account. The only problem with this email, as the prosecutor points out, is that the emails originated from the Big Red location itself.
Moreover, Wells and her boyfriend’s phones stopped transmitting their location data the day before.
The bizarre nature of these chain of events is encapsulated in a footnote by the US Attorney.
So, where is Courtney Wells and her boyfriend – are they truly on the run from the law? Arguably, it would be exceptionally difficult for someone to disappear in today’s ever growing digital environment and not get caught.
Were they murdered to make it impossible for Wells to refute the bogus emails? If so, who would have the means, motive, and opportunity to commit such a crime?
This treasure trove of newly discovered emails, that were printed and conveniently deleted, just lying around Wells’s office, would arguably have been discovered when the search warrant was executed for this case.
The subtext of the U.S. Attorney’s words is glaringly obvious and quite alarming. Someone other than Courtney Wells wrote those emails to try to get Chris Mayes off the hook. The defendant’s attorneys (including Behenna) knew that yet submitted the emails as evidence to the court anyway. Wells is now inexplicably “missing” and the only person who could conceivably benefit from her mysterious disappearance is Chris Mayes.
In case you didn’t know, the Oklahoma County DA’s office needs some cleaning up. You can read all about the Big Pimpin’ that’s been going on there in my last article here (Part 2 of that is in progress).