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W.Virginia sheriff sentenced for insurance fraud

Former Sheriff John Hawkins
Former Sheriff John Hawkins

Former Virginia Sheriff sentenced for insurance fraud

Yesterday, United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld announced that the former Sheriff of Barbour County, West Virginia, was sentenced to prison for attempting to defraud an insurance company. The case was investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office Public Corruption Unit. Agents and officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the West Virginia State Police led the inquiry into Hawkins. Assistance was provided by the West Virginia Insurance Commission, Fraud Investigations Division. United States Attorney Ihlenfeld and Assistant United States Attorney John C. Parr prosecuted the case on behalf of the government.

Williams stated that John Hawkins, 48, of Philippi, was ordered to serve 12 months and 1 day in prison as a result of his felony conviction for “Mail Fraud” in February. According to court records, Hawkins, who had resigned from his post as sheriff, entered his guilty plea four months ago, will report to prison in July. He must also make full restitution.

Hawkins has admitted his part in the insurance fraud case. He admitted to staging a motor vehicle accident and then conspired to fabricate an accident report that was submitted to Nationwide Insurance Company. According to court records and evidence, Hawkins asserted that while driving his 2004 GMC Envoy, he accidentally drove off Jerusalem Church Road in Philippi and ran into a tree. A review of the claim filed revealed inconsistencies in Hawkins story. Photographs taken by the insurance adjuster contradicted Hawkins' version of events. Hawkins used the United States Mail to make a fraudulent claim in the amount of $8,262.65 which was paid to him by Nationwide in 2013.

Chief U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey imposed a sentence above the advisory guideline, citing the betrayal of trust by Hawkins to the citizens of Barbour County.