Ritchie County woman pleads guilty to fraud charges
PARKERSBURG, W.Va (WTAP) - A former WVU Extension Service agent, who also worked for the Ritchie County Commission and Board of Education, pleaded guilty to fraud charges Tuesday morning.
Authorities said Stephanie Deem, 39, of Harrisville, sought and obtained travel and expense reimbursements on 57 occasions from the county commission, board of education and extension service.
The West Virginia State Auditor’s Office, which prosecuted the case, said she also misappropriated money from an ox-roast fundraiser and 4-H property rentals.
As part of her plea agreement with prosecutors, Deem will be required to repay $6,159.
She also faces a one- to 10-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $2,500 at her sentencing, which is scheduled for Sept. 22.
The case was investigated by the auditor’s Public Integrity and Faud Unit and the Ritchie County Sheriff’s Office.
“This is a great example of the swift justice our office is able to bring, Auditor John B. McCuskey said. “From beginning to end, this case was initiated, investigated and completed in less than six months. This all culminated despite limitation of court proceedings during COVID. The public can be assured we will work tirelessly to hold government officials responsible when they take from the public trust.”
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