Third City Official Pleads Guilty To Embezzlement
A yearlong fraud investigation into the finances of the City of Madison resulted in a third conviction for employee Kim Bannister who pleaded guilty to a felony embezzlement charge.
Bannister served as the office manager for the city. Two other employees were convicted earlier this year.
Bannister was charged by the State Auditor’s Special Prosecuting Attorney for skimming city funds, receiving extra payroll checks, and being paid for leave she was not entitled to have.
Bannister was sentenced in Boone County Circuit Court by Judge Jay Hoke. The court agreed to suspend her sentence and granted a motion for probation for a period of seven years. Bannister was ordered to pay $39,904 in restitution to the City of Madison.
In February, two of Bannister’s co-workers were sentenced for their part in this scheme. Joanna Bias and Tammy Hill both pleaded guilty to felony embezzlement charges. The two were sentenced to one to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay restitution for funds they stole, $34,973 for Bias and $39,726 for Hill.
Another case against a fourth employee, who is alleged to also be a part of this scheme, has yet to be adjudicated.
The embezzlement took place from July 2012 through March 2020 and the amount stolen from the city totaled $157,073.
“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,” Auditor J.B. McCuskey said.
The West Virginia State Auditor’s Public Integrity and Fraud Unit includes a legal director, seven fraud examiners, four investigators and three purchasing card (P-Card) fraud monitors. To report suspected fraud, call (833) WV-FRAUD, or email email@example.com. You can also file an online complaint at www.wvsao.gov.