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W.Va. Auditor McCuskey issues comment on Logan County Fire Department Investigation

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia State Auditor’s Office has combined efforts with the Logan County Prosecutor’s Office to thoroughly audit and investigate financial activities of several Logan County fire departments.

John P. McCuskey

Although this has been an ongoing effort, the investigation has recently come to the attention of the public through the office of Logan County Prosecuting Attorney David Wandling.

“This is only one of many examples when we have worked with local partners in Logan County, and continue to address a host of issues,” John P. McCuskey said “While we are still in the investigation phase, we cannot say specifically what or who has done something wrong. However, when we find those answers, the public will know.”

The State Auditor’s Office has been conducting financial examinations of every volunteer fire department in the State, offering free accounting software, and tracking financial conditions in real time. In addition, every volunteer fire department has been offered the opportunity to participate in the State Purchasing Card program which is monitored daily for internal and external fraud. While many fire departments have chosen to enroll in these programs to prevent theft, some have chosen not to participate. Unfortunately, when fraud is detected where there have been no preventive measures, our office is called upon by local prosecutors to forensically determine the cause and scope after the fact.

“The threat of fraud is ever-present. When large amounts of money are made available through federal funds to our towns and municipalities, such as the American Rescue Plan, there must be monitoring programs in place to protect against fraud,” McCuskey said. “Those funds are intended to go to a specific purpose and not for any personal use. If you are stealing from the government, you will be caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

In compliance with the Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 3.8, you are advised that a charge is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. If you see or know of fraudulent activities, please call (833) WV-FRAUD or file an anonymous online report at www.wvsao.gov

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