June 20, 2018 / 5:06 PM / 2 months ago

West Virginia Supreme Court justice charged with fraud

(Reuters) - West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Allen Loughry was arrested on Wednesday and charged with 22 federal criminal counts including fraud, witness tampering and misuse of government property.

Loughry, 47, who was elected in 2012, was charged with using a government vehicle and credit card on personal trips, submitting mileage claims for reimbursement for a government vehicle he used and making unlawful personal use of a historically significant desk, U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart said in a statement issued by his office in Charleston.

“Public corruption is a top investigative priority,” said FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Nick Boshears in the statement. “It erodes public confidence and undermines the rule of law.”

Loughry’s attorney, John Carr, said in an email, “We have no comment at this time.”

The indictment also accused him of trying to obstruct the grand jury investigation by seeking to influence the testimony of a Supreme Court employee.

The court, which has five elected members, suspended Loughry without pay on June 8 after the state’s Judicial Investigations Commission issued a 32-count complaint against him and moved to revoke his law license, local media reported.

Loughry was arrested at his home by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents on Wednesday and taken to the federal courthouse in Charleston, where he will be arraigned, Stuart said.

Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Steve Orlofsky

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