ELKINS, W.Va. — A former vice president at Fairmont State University was sentenced Wednesday to spend three and a half years in federal prison after embezzling more than $1.3 million from the school.

David Tamm, 45, of Parkersburg, used state issued purchasing cards to purchase equipment for resale. U.S. Attorney Bill Ihlenfeld said the theft took place for almost seven years.

“He abused his position of trust and eventually he was caught and a result he was sentenced to 46 months in prison,” Ihlenfeld said.

Tamm used the money to purchase luxury automobiles, a $435,000 home in Bridgeport and other expensive items. He was the chief information officer at FSU when the theft took place from Oct. 2007 to Jan. 2013. He pleaded guilty earlier this year to embezzlement and filing a false income tax return.

Federal prosecutor Ihlenfeld said his office has been able to recover some of the money but not all. Tamm has been ordered to make restitution for the full amount.

“He owes over 1.3 million dollars to the university. He owes close to a quarter of a million dollars in back taxes and he’s going to be going to prison for the next four years roughly and he won’t be earning any money while he’s in prison,” Ihlenfeld said.

Specifically, Tamm purchased hundreds of computer switches with purchasing cards and then resold them for cash. An audit turned up the theft.

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  • zero tolerance

    4 years of lavish country club jail time for a crime exceeding 1 million dollars and tax account for the IRS that has an existing balance owed of over 250K.

    That seems quite equitable.

    Is he a Tea Party Member? Seems logical if he was that his financial uncertainties would have been discovered much earlier............

    • flossrancher

      I worked for a while in the least restrictive type of federal prison, and it is far from a country club. Prisoners wear rough drab clothes, get up early. work most of the day, and spend a lot of their time standing in line waiting for meals and counts. There is a very short list of things they may buy--cassette music players at inflated prices, for example--no matter how much personal or family money they have. They can't be given items for personal use by friends or family, They have almost no phone time, and may watch large tv's in lounges. I'm not arguing for or against any prison reforms or anything, just correcting the notion that therre are federal prisons where inmates sleep in, play golf, or otherwise escape a life of dull drudgery.

  • Fred

    This type of activity goes on in every college and university in our state. It's almost a tradition in W.Va. county government. West Virginians have sticky fingers, especially when it comes to public funds, and almost none of them can withstand the temptation of having a state credit card in their pocket.

    • rose

      The LOVE of money is the root of all evil....think I read that 'somewhere'.

      Just said that to my husband this morning about the VA scandal on the news.

  • WVU fan in Boston

    Why is he going to FED jail, and not the WV State jail?

    • John

      My guess would be that he purchased and sold these items across interstate lines which then becomes a federal case.

      Just a guess

      • bkwht

        Article says he filed a false income tax report. IRS were probably the ones who picked up the case.

      • Jason412

        It doesn't necessarily have to cross state lines to become federal.

        Depending on the crime, and who investigates it (such as FBI vs. local police) and who prosecutes it, factors into this. You'll often see local meth cooks and some other drug crimes be prosecuted and convicted by the feds. The incident with the former Barbour County Sheriff recently was prosecuted by the feds, despite all the crimes occurring in Barbour County.

        I would guess the longer sentences given by the feds, their higher conviction rate, and plentiful resources would be one reason the feds would take a case like this, instead of local law enforcement.