Woman sentenced for misappropriation of funds

HARRISVILLE — A former employee of the WVU Extension Service in Ritchie County was sentenced after pleading guilty to misappropriating funds and fraudulently collecting reimbursements totaling thousands of dollars earlier this year.

From Jan. 1, 2016, to Feb. 29, 2020, Stephanie Deem obtained travel reimbursement on 57 occasions for the Ritchie County Extension Service, the Ritchie County Commission or the Ritchie County Board of Education, according to a release from State Auditor J.B. McCuskey.

Deem also misappropriated funds from an ox roast fundraiser and 4-H property rentals, the auditor’s office said.

Ritchie County Sheriff Terry Snodgrass said the county commission made him aware of the situation, at which time he began the investigation.

“I ran the investigation until such time it became an audit. I was authorized some assistance with the fraud unit,” he said.

Deem appeared before Ritchie County Circuit Judge Tim Sweeney earlier this week and was sentenced to one to 10 years in prison which was suspended for seven years of probation and 30 days in jail, Snodgrass said.

Per the plea agreement earlier this year, Deem would owe no less than $6,159.46, but the amount is still being determined.

Stephen Connolly, special prosecuting attorney for Ritchie County, and John Scott, Deem’s defense attorney, will work out how much Deem will owe in restitution and where those funds would go to, Snodgrass said.

“I’m certainly glad that’s stopped. It has come to an end and things have stopped. Restitution is going to be made (and) hopefully this won’t happen again in the area,” Snodgrass said.

Candice Black can be reached at cblack@newsandsentinel.com.


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