WHEELING – US attorney Bill Powell recognized nine law enforcement and community officials for participation Thursday "Furthermore" in their work to protect local and national security.
During a nearly 30-minute ceremony in the courtroom of U.S. bankruptcy judge David L. Bissett in federal court, Powell spoke with local, state, and federal law enforcement officers from across West Virginia and recognized the award winners.
Powell recognized the U.S. Marshal's Service, FBI Special Agent Matthew Berthinet, IRS Special Agent Tami Devericks, and the West Virginia Special Investigations Commission Jeff Shriner, State Police Sgt. J.W. Smith, FBI decay specialist; Amy Boyd, U.S. Postal Inspector Lindsay Weckerly, the Ziegenfelder Frozen Treat Co., and State Task Force Coordinator on Human Trafficking, Wuela Heceta, for their contributions to creating safe communities.
Powell said the U.S. attorney awards are presented annually to recognize those who do so "Special things" to make the community safer, or a person or company that does something to support the U.S. Attorney's mission.
“I am honored to recognize those in our community who are committed to protecting our children, our community, and our national security. While this year has brought some unique challenges, it has not thwarted efforts to protect and serve our neighbors. " Powell said. “Those honored today never seek recognition, but it is important to educate the public about the accomplishments of our law enforcement and community members. I thank each and every one of you for your continued service. "
The American Marshal Service was recognized for its exemplary service in the northern district of West Virginia. According to Powell, the marshals are consistently at risk as they get arrested on federal criminal matters and always help out with public relations. The US Marshals received the Outstanding Contribution Award.
Berthinet, Devericks, Shriner and Smith received the Outstanding Investigative Effort Award for their work in the US v. Harry Radcliffe et al. The 14-month four-agency investigation covered the relationship between Ohio magistrate Harry A. Radcliffe and ABC's W&S Bail Bonding, dba A Bail Bonding, owned by William W. Seelbach, for which his then-girlfriend Jolynn Gilchrist worked as a detention agent, according to the US prosecutor. The investigation included about 65 subpoenas, 25 witnesses and 125 interviews. A three-year bribery / kickback program (2013-15) was uncovered that included cash payments from Seelbach to Radcliffe of approximately $ 22,000 – revenue he had not reported to the IRS. Radcliffe and Seelbach both pleaded guilty to minor conspiracy crimes resulting from these payments. Radcliffe was sentenced to four months in prison and also resigned.
Boyd and the Forfeiture Unit in Pittsburgh are monitoring the FBI forfeitures in this district. They routinely review search and seizure documents to locate assets that would be part of an investigation, well in advance of the date of indictment, to ensure that all items charged are considered in the forfeiture phase of the case. It is the only agency willing to forfeit amounts below $ 5,000 upon request so that drug proceeds are not returned to the defendants. Boyd received the Outstanding Forfeiture Investigations Award.
In the USA against James Joseph Michaels, Weckerly and her team banned a package full of narcotics for Wellsburg. The agents located firearms that led to charges against the defendant. Without Weckerly's testimony, Powell said the case might not have ended in a confession of guilt. Michaels pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years probation. Weckerly received the Outstanding Investigative Effort Award.
Powell also presented Ziegenfelder representatives with an award for giving people in the community a second chance by hiring people with a criminal record.
"Things like that are just as important to us as the law enforcement work we obviously do." Powell said.
Media was not allowed to attend the ceremony, but Powell spoke to local media representatives outside after the event. Additional ceremonies will be held in Martinsburg and Clarksburg to honor more recipients of the US Attorney Awards.
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