UPDATE: Former Vol. Fire Dept. Employee Headed to Prison for Embezzlement

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email
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UPDATE 5/14/13
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A former employee at the Barboursville Volunteer Fire Department, is going to prison for embezzling $91,000 from the department.

Mary Taylor, 47, of Barboursville was sentenced Tuesday to 1-10 years in prison during a hearing in Cabell County Circuit Court.

Judge Al Ferguson also handed down a civil judgement to the Village of Barboursville in the case. This allows the village to collect the money from Taylor.

In March, Taylor pleaded guilty to embezzlement, admitting to stealing the moneyfrom the Barboursville Volunteer Fire Department.

Before her sentence, Taylor read a statement to the judge and court. "I want to start by apologizing to all that have been betrayed by any actions. I'd also like to tell my story as to what led to this."

Taylor says that while she was an employee at the department, she was forced into a sexual relationship with a firefighter. She says she stole the money as a way of coping.

"When I had threatened him that if it did not stop, I would report it. His reply was that it was his word against mine and the department would back him. That he would report me to the chiefs for not doing my job. I mentioned that I would bring a harassment suit against the department. He said everyone would think I was a terrible person for suing a volunteer fire department. The actions I took made me a terrible person anyway," Taylor said.

Taylor told the court that she tried to make a deal with the department when her embezzlement came out. She offered to pay them back, but they refused because she couldn't pay it in one payment.

"If I had the chance to do it over again, I would have taken the correct legal actions, rather than the illegal actions I did take," Taylor told the court.

Taylor said she wished she could blame someone for her actions, but the only person to blame is herself. But she also told the court if the sexual abuse wouldn't have happened, she would not have stolen the money. "I do feel that had it not happened to me, the sexual abuse and all, that none of this would have happened."

Taylor asked to be sentenced to probation and said she would pay back back the money. The prosecution asked for a stiffer sentence, saying this embezzlement put safety of the residents of Barboursville and Cabell County at risk. They also said she had the ability to stop her actions at any time, but chose not to.

The prosecutor's office asked for Taylor to pay restitution, but also be sentenced to prison. They said that even if this is her first offense, it is a major offense.

They said people should also know that such acts will not be taken lightly.

Judge Al Ferguson presided over the case. He asked Taylor how she planned to pay the restitution. She replied that she would get a job and her parents would help. She is not currently working

Ferguson said that the longest probation sentence he could give her would be five years and it would not be possible for her to pay back $91,000 in that amount of time.

Ferguson said, as with many embezzlement cases, "This is a calculated crime. It doesn't happen just one time. They start, take a little bit and they keep going."

Judge Ferguson asked Taylor why she just didn't quit her job. She said it was because of the mental shape she was in at the time. His response was, "you had enough mental capacity to steal."

Ferguson said Taylor did not show remorse, and blamed everyone around her for her actions. He then sentenced her to 1-10 years in prison.

After the sentence was read, a tearful Taylor asked Judge Ferguson to "please reconsider." She was immediately taken into custody.



UPDATE 3/15/13 @ 11:55 a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A former office manager at the Barboursville Volunteer Fire Department has pleaded guilty to embezzling $88,000 from the department.

Mary Elizabeth Taylor, 47, of Barboursville, entered the plea during a hearing in Cabell County Circuit Court Friday morning.

Taylor was indicted on one count of felony embezzlement in June. Prosecutors say she took the money between July 1, 2009, and May 10, 2011.

Taylor was fired in July 2011. She had worked for the department for about six years as its secretary.

Barboursville Police Chief Mike Coffee said the investigation found checks improperly issued from the fire department's account and misuse of its credit cards.

Fire Chief Phil Kincaid said the losses were covered by insurance.

Taylor will be sentenced on May 14.



ORIGINAL STORY 6/28/12
BARBOURSVILLE, W.Va. (WSAZ/AP) -- A former secretary at the Barboursville Fire Department has been indicted for embezzlement.

The indictment handed down by a Cabell County Grand Jury Wednesday charges Mary Elizabeth Taylor, of Barboursville, with taking more than $88,000 from the department between July 1, 2009, and May 10, 2011.

Barboursville Police Chief Mike Coffee says the investigation found checks improperly issued from the fire department's account and misuse of its credit cards.

Fire Chief Phil Kincaid says Taylor was fired in July 2011. She had worked for the department for about six years as its secretary.

Chief Kincaid said in a prepared release, that when the Department became aware of the several discrepancies in the financial accounts which could not be reconciled, an internal audit and investigation was immediately instituted.

Kincaid says as a result of that audit and investigation, we were able to identify the person responsible for the misappropriation and the manner in which it was accomplished.

The Chief says the losses are covered by insurance. In addition, appropriated internal police have been enacted to prevent this from happening again.

Barboursville Police Chief Mike Coffee says the investigation found checks improperly issued from the fire department's account and misuse of its credit cards.

Taylor will be arraigned on the charge in the next couple of weeks.


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