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Whoever happens to stop by this blog may wonder why I started it. Whenever I read news stories online I always like to put a face to the story. So I got to thinking maybe other people would as well. I always keep up on WV news and most stories don't have the mugshots with them so I hunt them up online and post them with the story. It's not that hard and I don't know why the state news sites don't do it

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tax deputy pleads guilty

FAYETTEVILLE — Former chief tax deputy Thomas Woodrum entered a guilty plea in Fayette County Circuit Court Tuesday to an information charging him with one count of felony embezzlement.

The information was filed by Raleigh County assistant prosecutor Ed Bibb, who was appointed to the case after Fayette Prosecuting Attorney Carl Harris recused himself.

Special Senior Status Judge Frank Jolliffe was also appointed to hear the case after Fayette circuit judges John Hatcher and Paul Blake recused themselves.

Woodrum pleaded guilty to embezzling $55,054, which, according to Sheriff Steve Kessler, came from the county’s jury fund.

Jolliffe told Woodrum that, under the plea agreement, he is required to make full restitution and reminded him that no conditions or agreement exists in regard to sentencing.

Woodrum admitted to taking money from the county tax department from Jan. 1, 2005, to Feb. 3, 2009, when he turned himself in.

Woodrum, who had been the sheriff’s chief tax deputy since 1997, also served as a Fayetteville city councilman, but resigned both posts after admitting to the embezzlement.

Officials say Woodrum cooperated with Kessler and auditors during the investigation.

“Mr. Woodrum’s attorney (Chris Moorehead) approached me on the third day of February, when I had only been in office about 30 days,” Kessler said Tuesday. “He stated that Woodrum had taken money from the tax office and was willing to come forward and tell us where he had taken it from and what he had done.”

Kessler added Woodrum’s cooperation did save time by telling investigators where to look.

“A lot of trust is placed on the chief tax deputy, and we are not the only county this has happened to,” he continued. “I have known Thomas Woodrum for a very long time, and he has worked for the county about as long as I have. I was shocked and disappointed, but I think we did the right things and have handled it properly.”

Woodrum, 57, faces a possible sentence of one to 10 years in prison, or up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

His bond was set at $25,000. He will be sentenced Jan. 15


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