WHEELING, W.Va. – A former highway administrator for the state Division of Highways in Upshur County has plead guilty to a charge of making a false statement to a federal agent. Edward Matthew Tuttle, 38, of Buckhannon, entered that plea on Wednesday.

“This all got started with a single complaint by a citizen who made a phone call to authorities and the investigation has turned us in a lot of directions,” said Bill Ihlenfeld, U.S. Attorney for West Virginia’s Northern District, on Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

Tuttle lied to an FBI agent who questioned him earlier this year about the delivery of a large truck he made, on state time, to Baltimore. He was indicted in March.

It’s a single charge that, according to Ihlenfeld, is part of a larger investigation focused on the DOH’s Equipment Division as a whole. In general, Ihlenfeld said that inquiry includes allegations of possible bid rigging, political activities on state time using state resources, improper fund usage and wire fraud.

No other details about the overall investigation were available.

Prior to becoming a DOH highway administrator, Tuttle was a supervisor within the Equipment Division. He now faces up to five years in prison and a fine of as much as $250,000 when he’s sentenced later this year.

Another DOH supervisor — Barry Thompson, 48, of Mount Clare — was also indicted earlier this year for allegedly lying to federal investigators. His trial is set for Sept. 30.

Both worked in Buckhannon at the headquarters for the DOH’s Equipment Division where purchases of equipment used across West Virginia are handled. About 90 people work there. Ihlenfield said the investigation, though, goes beyond just that site.

“It’s not just an Upshur County issue. It’s a statewide issue. There are other areas that we’re looking at and other parts of the state of concern,” Ihlenfeld said. “We’re going to continue to look at everything that we have.”

The number for the U.S. Attorney’s Public Corruption Hotline, a collection point for tips, is 1-855-WVA-FEDS. E-mail tips can be sent to wvafeds@usdoj.gov.

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Comments

  • Buck

    Aaron and James, you are spot on that the DOH needs privatized. Add bus drivers to the list, as well. Providing a pension and benefits for a part-time, menial labor job is a slap in the taxpayers face. Anyone that has owned/managed a business could see the cost effectiveness of subcontracting out these types of jobs. It's no wonder money is tight in the State coffers.

    • Charlie

      +1

  • Shadow

    l can only hope they lose their pension rights as a result of their crimes. However, it never seems to happen on the Federal side.

  • Jack MeHoff

    The entire D.O.H. needs to be investigated all the way to Charleston, plus politicians too!,

  • Aaron

    The DOH has $8 billion dollars in assets.

    That's billion with a B meaning that total cost to purchase these assets to taxpayers is enormous. That doesn't take into account of maintenance and upkeep on those assets. It's a sizable chunk of the DOH's annual $1.25 billion budget.

    Imagine how many miles of roads we could maintain and build if taxpayers weren't on the hook for billions.

    Sell the assets, privatize the DOH, save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and provide a better end product. It's win, win, win and win.

    • James

      I couldn't agree more. When will we emerge from the stone ages and embrace modern day business practices. VDOT in Virginia uses contractors to plow snow on I-81 and other designated state roads and also dig, pave etc. They use project managers and contract officers to manage, monitor/surveillance of contracts and work and pay the contract invoices. Less equipment, full performance based accountability (or they don't get paid) and a significantly reduced overhead (no trucks to maintain or life cycle refresh purchases). I have personally talked to the VDOT guys and they love it from bottom to top. The state employees actually moved from state employment to the contractor side and make more money! Everybody is happy. C'mon please Gov Tomblin, get us out of the stone ages!!!

      • WVU1

        You are 100% right, but that is way too progressive for West Virginia government to decipher and implement. Sadly.

  • Wayne

    This is going on all over the state. Again, where is the governor? Where is Mattox. They are horrible managers of our funds and assets.

    • WVU1

      This is the issue with all State agencies. There are all managed poorly to ridiculous levels.

  • Dumb Liberals

    I wonder who he rolled on? Maybe, if we're lucky, it goes all the way to Mattox.

    • WVU1

      It probably won't go all the way to the top, but those at Buckhannon might want to get concerned. The Feds won't stop.

      If lazy were a crime, the whole bunch there would be headed to jail.

    • ViennaGuy

      There's more to come on this, just wait. Making false statements to federal investigators portends much bigger things to come.

      • Dumb Liberals

        "You have the right to remain silent" seems to be the hardest of the Miranda rights for suspects to comprehend.

        The hardest concept to grasp is if you lie to the government it's criminal, but when the government (or it's representatives and agents) lie to its citizens, that's ok! After all, the m0r0n, his AG, the IRS, DHHS, etc. have been caught in how many lies? The AG and the IRS official are even under CONTEMPT citations.

        “Do as I order you, not as I do!” The battle cry of the mo0r0n and his liberal radical soldiers and Gestapo.

  • ut oh

    Then the cost of jail, free medical, air conditioning and retraining only to turn around in five or ten years and hire them sonewhere else in govenment so that they can get their retirement enhanced!

  • Raging Moderate

    Goes to show you how much fraud and abuse cost taxpayers. First in the cost of the original corruption, them the cost of the investigation.