BOONE COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – A Boone County woman has pleaded guilty to a felony embezzlement charge.
According to West Virginia State Auditor John B. McCuskey’s office, City of Madison office manager Kim Bannister was convicted of the charge on Oct. 29. She is the third employee from the city convicted in an embezzlement scheme this year. McCuskey says the convictions are the result of a year-long fraud investigation into the city’s finances.
McCuskey’s office says Bannister “engaged in a fraud scheme to skim city funds, receive extra payroll checks, and be paid for leave she was not entitled to have.” She was initially sentenced in Boone County Circuit Court to one to 10 years in prison, but the state auditor’s office says the court agreed to suspend the sentence and granted a motion for seven years of probation.
The state auditor’s office says Bannister will be required to pay the City of Madison $39,904 in restitution.
According to McCuskey’s office, two other city workers, Joanna Bias and Tammy Hill, pleaded guilty to felony embezzlement charges and were both sentenced to one to 10 years in prison in February. Bias was ordered to pay the city $34,973 in restitution and Hill was ordered to pay $39,726.
A case against a fourth employee allegedly involved in the scheme is still pending, McCuskey’s office says.
The auditor’s office says the scheme took place between July 2012 and March 2020, with a total of $157,073 stolen from the city.
“This is a small sample of the many cases the State Auditor’s Public Integrity and Fraud Unit has taken on through a partnership with county prosecutors and law enforcement agencies across the state,” McCuskey said. “We’ve made it a priority to prosecute crimes of fraud, and strongly encourage anyone with information regarding state or local fraud to call (833) WVFRAUD, email firstname.lastname@example.org or file an online complaint at www.wvsao.gov.”