UPDATE: Former Clay Co. development director pleads guilty to embezzling more than $18K in FEMA flood benefits

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A woman from Clay County pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $18,000 in FEMA disaster benefits after the devastating June 2016 floods that claimed lives and significant property, U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart’s Office says.

Pamela Taylor, 57, admitted that she falsely registered for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster benefits after flooding in Clay County.

Sources tell us she's the same Pamela Taylor, the former development director in Clay County, who made national headlines in 2016 after she made a racist post about former first lady Michelle Obama. She was suspended before later returning to that position. Click here to see that story.

In the FEMA embezzlement case, investigators say Taylor claimed that her primary residence was damaged by the flood. She also claimed that she stayed in a rental unit after the flood.

As it turns out, according to investigators, Taylor’s home wasn’t damaged at all and she was still living there.

In a plea agreement, Taylor agreed to pay restitution of $18,149.04.

“The flood was a natural disaster. Stealing from FEMA is a man-made disaster,” Stuart said in a news release. “The floods of June 2016 were historic and devastating to thousands of West Virginians. Lives were lost. Too many of our brothers and sisters lost everything. FEMA dollars are critical but limited. Stealing critical FEMA dollars is a crime – literally and figuratively. Taylor’s fraud scheme diverted disaster benefits from our most desperate and vulnerable, those most in need of help.”

Taylor faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 when she is sentenced May 30.

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