Former Clay County nonprofit director pleads guilty to embezzling FEMA funds

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A former nonprofit director who previously made a racist Facebook post about then-first lady Michelle Obama pleaded guilty this week for embezzling more than $18,000 in federal disaster funding.

Pamela Taylor, 57, admitted Tuesday to falsely registering for FEMA benefits following the June 2016 flood. Taylor, who lives in Clay County, claimed she had to move into a rental unit after her primary home was damaged.

According to the office of U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart, Taylor’s home was not damaged and she still lived there.

“Taylor’s fraud scheme diverted disaster benefits from our most desperate and vulnerable, those most in need of help. We take the solemn responsibility of ensuring FEMA dollars are used responsibly and legally,” Stuart said.

Taylor also agreed to pay restitution of $18,149.04.

Taylor previously served as director of the Clay County Development Corporation; in November 2016, Taylor lost her job after she made a Facebook post referring to Obama as an “ape in heels.”

Clay Mayor Beverly Whaling posted a comment on the post: “Just made my day Pam.” Whaling resigned shortly afterward.

Taylor will be sentenced on May 30 and faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.

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