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Former Clay County official sentenced in embezzlement case

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A former Clay County economic development official was sentenced to 10 months in federal prison on Thursday in an embezzlement case.

Pamela Taylor, who also made headlines after making racist comments on former first lady Michelle Obama, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Irene Berger.

“There’s no such thing as a little bit of FEMA fraud. Taylor’s fraudulent scheme took FEMA dollars away from those who needed it the most,” U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart said in a statement released following the sentencing. “Federal disaster benefits are critical to rebuilding infrastructure, homes and lives – not for lining the pockets of individuals who suffered no loss. As I stated earlier this month, you can rest assured that my office is working with appropriate federal agencies to investigate the issues of disaster relief, and the use of federal funds related to the historic 2016 floods. Any party that abused their position of authority, violated the public trust, or misused taxpayer dollars will be held accountable.”

Special Agent in Charge Mark Tasky of the Department of Health Services-Office of Inspector Genefral added defrauding federal programs is always and egregious act.

“Disaster relief fraud is even more serious because of the limited nature of the funds intended to assist Americans in their time of greatest need,” Tasky said. “DHS-OIG is pleased to have worked this investigation jointly with the West Virginia Commission on Special Investigations and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia to show the good people of West Virginia that justice has been served upon Taylor, who knowingly and willfully disregarded federal laws to personally enrich herself at a time when many people affected by this disaster were just trying to survive.”

Along with prison time, Taylor was fined $10,000.

The sentence also includes three years of supervised release after she is released from prison.

Taylor pleaded guilty in February to embezzling more than $18,000 in federal disaster funding. She has already repaid the money.

She will self-report to prison.

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