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Former Wheeling employee pleads guilty to fraud

WHEELING, W.Va. — A former human resources director for the City of Wheeling pleaded guilty Monday to one count of wire fraud after stealing money from the city.

According to U.S. Attorney Bill Powell, Teresa Hudrlik, of Valley Grove, used a city-issued purchasing card to make personal purchases. She also altered receipts and other documents to cover up those purchases. Hudrlik also gave herself payroll bonuses and had payroll payments deposited into personal banking accounts that she controlled in the names of other Wheeling employees.

Powell said Hudrlik started committing the crimes in June 2016, two months after she was hired. The crimes continued until March 2018.

“We count on our public employees to operate as hardworking and honest public servants. The vast majority meet or exceed those expectations. Those who violate the sacred public trust must be discovered and prosecuted in accordance with the rule of law. This defendant will now be punished for her conduct. The City of Wheeling is to be commended for their cooperation in this matter,” Powell said in a news release that came out Monday after the plea hearing.

As part of the plea agreement, Hudrlik has agreed to pay $80,000 in restitution to the city. The federal government is seeking a money judgement of $50,000.

Hudrlik faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The office of state Auditor J.B. McCuskey first uncovered the fraud. Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott read a statement at an April city council meeting.

“On Thursday, March 29, 2018, Mayor Glenn Elliott and City Manager Robert Herron each received a telephone call from West Virginia State Auditor John B. McCuskey indicating that investigators from his office had identified potential fraudulent activity by a city of Wheeling employee. As of this time, an investigation into this matter is ongoing, and the employee in question is no longer with the city.

“As a city council, to a person, we are deeply troubled by the alleged conduct in question and will not be satisfied until our many questions are answered. But for now, we will have nothing further to say about this matter until such time as the auditor’s office concludes its investigation. In the meantime, we would direct all inquiries to Cathy Price, deputy state auditor for Public Affairs.”


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