FBI was investigating late Mingo Co. Sheriff - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

FBI was investigating late Mingo Co. Sheriff for money laundering, mail fraud

Posted: Updated:
A search warrant indicates the FBI was investigating Crum for money laundering and mail fraud. A search warrant indicates the FBI was investigating Crum for money laundering and mail fraud.

The FBI was investigating the late Sheriff Crum for money laundering and mail fraud just weeks before his death, according to a search warrant unsealed Friday.

In the document, filed May 7, FBI Special Agent Michael Hansen claimed Crum arranged to pay for campaign signs using money illegally obtained from a pill mill doctor.  The payments amounted to thousands of dollars.

Hansen links Crum to Dr. Diane Shafer, who was convicted in federal court for conspiring to misuse a Drug Enforcement Task force registration number.

During the 2012 election, Crum bought signs from a local sign maker, George White.  Instead of paying White, Crum told the man to collect money from his associate, Shafer.

The FBI also suspected Crum of possibly mailing in false campaign finance reports.

Hansen applied for the search warrant to search Crum's iPhone.

Crum was murdered in April. That device, along with his body, was brought to the West Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.  The items were then taken to the West Virginia State Police, who investigated his murder.

The warrant was served several months ago and investigators could not disclose what they found on the phone, according to a source within the FBI.

Federal prosecutors linked Crum to White in a separate information filed Sept. 19. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Ruby filed documents alleging Crum and several elected officials worked to deprive White, a known drug dealer, of his constitutional rights.

George White, 65, owner of White's Signs, printed signs for then-magistrate Crum, who was running for sheriff. A public listing for White's Signs says the establishment is located in Delbarton.

White attempted to collect a $3,000 debt from Crum, who continually denied White payment, prosecutors said.

Crum won the sheriff's race in 2012. During his first month in office, documents further assert, Crum arranged for White to be arrested. Prosecutors said Crum did this because he obtained prescription pills from White.

Investigators assert White dealt illegal prescription pills in Mingo County.

White eventually hired a lawyer, Charles "Butch" West, who was in contact with the FBI with the intention of pursuing Crum. White informed the FBI that before his arrest, he unlawfully provided Crum with prescription narcotic pills on several occasions. White also told the FBI about election law violations Crum committed, according to the information.

Prosecutors said Crum discovered White's relationship with West. It prompted Crum, former Mingo Co. Commissioner Dave Baisden, former Circuit Court judge Michael Thornsbury and former Prosecutor Michael Sparks to conspire against White through his brother, Glenn.

The group reportedly told Glenn White that if George hired another attorney - one they provided him - they would guarantee White a good plea deal.

That attorney was Ron Rumora, a former prosecuting attorney in Mingo County. Rumora did not return requests for an interview Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors assert these officials offered to stop White and his attorney from giving more information to the FBI.

In February 2013, a grand jury in Mingo County indicted White on three counts of delivery of oxycodone.

The information states that Thornsbury, aware of the deal, sentenced White to drug charges. Crum allegedly ordered deputies to obtain a statement from White, claiming he never sold drugs to the sheriff.

According to Hansen's search warrant request, Crum and Dave Rockel, the Williamson police chief at the time, interviewed White after he fired West. Crum asked White if he specifically told the FBI about a drug arrangement they had made. White reportedly denied telling the FBI he sold drugs to Crum.

Records from the West Virginia Regional Jail Authority indicate that White was arrested as recently as May 28 and remains incarcerated. He had been in jail on drug charges three times in the past year.

White previously declined a request for an interview.

Thornsbury pleaded guilty Oct 2. to conspiring to deprive White of his constitutional rights. He resigned the same morning.

Baisden pleaded guilty Oct 1. to an unrelated attempted extortion charge. He resigned Oct. 7.

Prosecutors filed information Oct. 9, accusing Sparks of depriving White of his constitutional rights. He resigned the same day.