Three convicted of felony fraud crimes in WV

Local News

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Three people in West Virginia have been convicted of felony fraud charges.

According to West Virginia State Auditor J.B. McCuskey’s Office, Joanna M. Bias and Tammy L. Hill both pleaded guilty to felony embezzlement charges Thursday, Jan. 28. McCuskey says the two had allegedly engaged in a fraud scheme to skim city funds, receive extra payroll checks and be paid for leave in the City of Madison in Boone County. 

Bias has been sentenced to 1-10 years in prison and must pay the city back $34,973.02. Hill received a similar sentence and pay the city back $39,726.06. They both received seven years of probation.

McCuskey’s office says former bookkeeper for the Lizemore Volunteer Fire Department in Clay County, Christian Nova Elliot, pleaded guilty to felony charges of Forgery and Falsifying Accounts on Feb. 1. A Clay County Grand Jury indicted Elliott in November of last year. She is scheduled to be sentenced Mar. 30, and faces 1-10 years on each count.

Elliot has also agreed to pay restitution of $8,896.34 to the state and $2,782.37 to the fire department as part of her plea agreement.

These cases are part of the state’s auditor’s office partnership with county prosecutors and police agencies in West Virginia.

“Working together – every taxpayer – to report fraud when it occurs will have an enormous
deterrent effect on this systemic problem. When you write that check for a speeding ticket, or you
pay your trash bill, or you put money in that fire department fundraiser, you should expect that it
is going to provide the service you paid for and not lining someone’s pocket because they were
allowed access to those funds.”

J.B. McCuskey, State Auditor

Anyone who has any information regarding state or local fraud in West Virginia can call (833) WV-FRAUD, emailing wvfraud@wvsao.gov or file an online complaint on the West Virginia State Auditor’s website.

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