Two magistrates indicted on fraud and obstruction charges

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Two magistrates in Central West Virginia have been indicted by a federal grand jury on several charges regarding fraud and obstruction.

United States Attorney Bill Powell announced Tuesday that Lewis County Magistrate Roger D. Clem, Jr. and Gilmer County Magistrate Alton L. Skinner, II were each indicted on one count of Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud, two counts of Wire Fraud, two counts of Mail Fraud, and one count of Obstruction of Justice.

Skinner, 57, of Sand Fork, West Virginia is also facing one count of False Statement to a Federal Agent.

View the full release from Powell HERE

Skinner’s spouse is the operator of authorized bonding company E-Z Out, LLC in Sand Fork and his son is an authorized bonding agent there.

Clem, 47, of Weston, Virginia is accused of taking favorable actions in the courtroom for E-Z Out, including setting unnecessary surety bonds.

According to the release, Clem is accused of calling Skinner to arrange the bond of a detainee without presenting a list of authorized bonding companies to the detainee.

Powell said Skinner would allegedly arrange for his spouse or son, as agents of E-Z Out, to be present at the arraignment of the detainee without the detainee’s informed choice of E-Z Out amongst other authorized bonding companies.

The release also said Clem and Skinner are also accused of mailing a contract and checks between Skinner’s spouse and Dave Bourne Bail Bonds, Inc. in Virginia, the general agent of the underwriter for E-Z Out.

The pair is accused of causing payments via electronic transmission which traveled outside of West Virginia as well as obstructing the grand jury investigation in this case.

Allegedly, Skinner made false statements to a special agent from the Internal Revenue Service Special Investigation Unit.

Clem and Skinner face up to 20 years in behind bars and a fine of up to $250,000 each of the conspiracy, wire fraud and mail fraud, and obstruction counts.

For Skinner’s false statement count, he faces an additional sentence of up to five years incarceration and a fine of up to $250,000.

In addition, the United States is also seeking a money judgment in the amount of $18,900.

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