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Former Fayette County, WV, Sheriff's Department employee admits to stealing $40,000 in concealed weapon permit money

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A 44-year-old Fayette County, West Virginia, woman has admitted to pocketing about $40,000 in application fees for concealed weapons permits.

Cheryl Gray of Hilltop, a former employee of the Fayette County sheriff's department, pleaded guilty this week to mail fraud in U.S. District Court in Charleston.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said Gray faces up to 20 years in prison at sentencing.

It was Gray's job to collect application fees for concealed weapon permits, recording the fees paid and transmitting a list of permits issued to the West Virginia State Police each month. For more than six months — from October 2012 through June 2013, Gray kept cash payments for permits and omitted those names from the report she submitted to the West Virginia State Police. To disguise her theft, he said Gray created a false set of receipt books.

The fraud resulted in losses to the State Police and Fayette County Sheriff’s Department of roughly $40,000, Goodwin said.

Sentencing is set for Sept. 23 in Charleston.

The West Virginia State Police, Fayette County sheriff’s deputies and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Blaire L. Malkin is handling Gray's prosecution.