The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

August 22, 2013

Former Smithers fire chief pleads guilty

By Wendy Holdren
Register-Herald Reporter

— The former chief of the Smithers Volunteer Fire Department has pleaded guilty to embezzlement, while fraud charges against his wife have been dropped, according to Fayette County Prosecutor Carl Harris.

Timothy and Patricia Whittington had both previously pleaded not guilty to the charges in May.

A state audit of the department’s finances were released for 2010, showing over $18,000 in expenditures that were unallowable under law, lacked supporting documentation or were unauthorized.

The auditor’s report showed that Whittington was paying some of his personal bills with department funds for over a year.

Whittington stepped down as chief in February, and was replaced by Thomas Whittington, his cousin and a town council member.

Timothy and Patricia were released on $5,000 bond and had an initial trial date of Aug. 20, but Timothy agreed to plead guilty in order for the charges against his wife to be dropped.

Harris said Whittington will be sentenced Sept. 30 at 10:30 a.m. before Fayette County Circuit Court Judge Paul M. Blake Jr.

— E-mail: wholdren@register-herald.com