Woman accused of embezzling more than $21,000 of county funds
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A woman who worked at the Kanawha County Clerk’s Office is accused of embezzling more than $21,000 of county funds for her own personal use, according to county court records obtained Tuesday.
Elizabeth Marie Sampson, 44, of Elkview, is charged with embezzlement.
According to the criminal complaint filed in Magistrate Court, Sampson is accused of taking multiple payments from transactions that involved residents paying cash to the county for back taxes owed on property.
Commissioner Lance Wheeler said the Kanawha County Commission was made aware last Wednesday by the Clerk’s Office that money was missing.
Wheeler said the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office immediately started an investigation, and after many employee interviews found Sampson, an 18-year employee of the Clerk’s Office, to be responsible for the missing money.
It was not clear how long she had been pocketing the cash.
“This is people’s money, and we gotta make sure that we’re taking care of everything, making sure the procedure’s correct,” Wheeler said. “It’s a learning lesson for the Clerk’s Office and we’ll make sure something like this hopefully never happens.”
The complaint goes on to say that Sampson was responsible for taking funds received from residents and having them transferred to a different department for deposit.
Sampson admitted to taking the cash and using it for personal reasons, including paying bills, the complaint states.
Wheeler said the county is doing all it can to restore the public’s faith.
“It’s devastating. This is something the people of Kanawha County have put trust in us for,” he said. “This happens, we have a lot of different employees running around. We have a lot of things going around, we just need to tighten the ship over at the clerk’s office and I think we’ll take care of this, make sure justice is served and make sure something like this can’t happen again.”
The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office is handling the investigation.
County Clerk Vera McCormick did not wish to comment during an active investigation.
Kanawha County Chief Deputy Joe Crawford said Sampson was released after paying a $10,000 bond.
He added the Sheriff’s Office is in the process of looking at records from the Clerk’s Office and said the agency and Sampson have been cooperative.
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