Mingo Corruption

Mingo Corruption
4:25 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Ex-Mingo Prosecutor Sentenced to One Year in Prison, Additional Supervision

Credit United States District Court / Southern District of West Virginia

  Former Mingo County prosecutor Michael Sparks has been sentenced to a year in prison after pleading guilty in a federal corruption case.

Sparks was sentenced Monday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Charleston. In addition to his time behind bars, he was sentenced to a year of supervised release.

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Mingo Corruption
4:58 pm
Sat June 21, 2014

Former Mingo Judge Appeals 50-Month Sentence

Credit Associated Press

  A former Mingo County judge who pleaded guilty to a corruption charge is appealing his 50-month prison sentence.

The Williamson Daily News reports that Michael Thornsbury's attorney has filed a notice of appeal with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

Thornsbury pleaded guilty to conspiring to deprive campaign sign maker George White of his constitutional rights. Prosecutors said Thornsbury participated in a scheme to protect the late Sheriff Eugene Crum from accusations that the sheriff bought prescription painkillers from White.

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Mingo Corruption
11:25 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Ex-Mingo Prosecutor's Sentencing Rescheduled Again

Downtown Williamson, Mingo County
Credit Flonight / wikimedia Commons

Former Mingo County prosecutor Michael Sparks' sentencing on corruption charges has been rescheduled again.

Sparks was slated to be sentenced June 16 in federal court in Charleston. U.S. District Court Judge Thomas E. Johnston on Monday rescheduled the proceeding for July 7.

Court records show Sparks originally was set to be sentenced Feb. 24. His sentencing was reset three times prior to Johnston's latest order.

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Mingo Corruption
11:14 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Former Mingo Judge Sentenced to 50 Months in Prison

Credit Associated Press

A former Mingo County judge has been sentenced to 50 months in prison for federal corruption charges.

Michael Thornsbury was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Charleston.

Thornsbury pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to deprive George White of his constitutional rights.

The conspiracy charge was related to a scheme to protect the late Sheriff Eugene Crum from illegal drug use accusations.

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Mingo Corruption
11:21 am
Wed June 4, 2014

Feds Seek Lengthy Sentence for Ex-Mingo Judge

Credit Associated Press

Federal prosecutors say a former Mingo County judge should receive a lengthy sentence because he abused his power and damaged the county's judicial system.

Former Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury is asking for leniency in sentencing. Thornsbury's lawyers say he has cooperated with an ongoing federal corruption investigation in the county.

Both sides filed sentencing recommendations in federal court this week. Thornsbury is scheduled to be sentenced June 9.

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Battle of Matewan Reenactment
9:30 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Will Heritage Help Turn Matewan Around?

Battle of Matewan reenactment cast, 2014

As part of the West Virginia Focus Magazine project called Turn This Town Around, experts with the West Virginia Community Development HUB are helping Matewan focus, pursue, and execute plans to revitalize the town.

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Mingo Corruption
10:27 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Former Williamson Mayor Pleads Guilty

Credit Flonight / wikimedia Commons

  Former Williamson Mayor Darrin McCormick has pleaded guilty to lying to federal authorities.

The U.S. attorney's office says McCormick entered his plea Thursday in federal court in Charleston. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine at his Aug. 28 sentencing.

McCormick was charged in April with lying to the FBI and the IRS about suspicious banking activity by Aracoma Contracting, LLC. McCormick formerly managed the Bank of Mingo's Williamson branch.

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Mingo Corruption
10:50 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Sentencing Reset for Ex-Mingo County Prosecutor

Credit David Benbennick / wikimedia Commons

Former Mingo County prosecutor Michael Sparks' sentencing in a federal corruption case has been rescheduled a third time.

Court records show Sparks originally was set to be sentenced Feb. 24. The sentencing was pushed back to March 5 and then reset for Thursday.

Last Friday, U.S. District Judge Thomas E. Johnston rescheduled Sparks' sentencing again. He's now scheduled to be sentenced June 16 in U.S. District Court in Charleston.

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Mingo Corruption
12:33 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Figure in Mingo Probe Sues Ex-Officials, Others

Credit David Benbennick / wikimedia Commons

A figure in the federal Mingo County corruption probe is suing several former county officials and others.     

George White's lawsuit claims the defendants violated his constitutional rights and damaged his reputation.

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Mingo Corruption
4:26 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Former Mingo Chief Magistrate Sentenced to 27 Months in Federal Prison

Credit David Benbennick / wikimedia Commons

A former chief magistrate is the latest defendant sentenced to federal prison time in a probe of corruption in Mingo County, West Virginia, United States Attorney Booth Goodwin announced today. Dallas Toler, 45, of Delbarton, West Virginia, was sentenced to 27 months of imprisonment.

Last December, Toler admitted in federal court that he falsified a voter registration application during the 2012 primary election campaign. Toler faked the application so that a convicted felon, still on probation and thus barred from voting, could vote for Toler’s Team Mingo faction. 

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Mingo Corruption
1:04 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Feds Recommend One Year Sentence for Ex-Mingo Prosecutor

Credit David Benbennick / wikimedia Commons

The government is seeking the maximum punishment of one year in prison for a former Mingo County prosecutor.

Michael Sparks is scheduled to be sentenced next Wednesday in Charleston federal court on a corruption charge.

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Mingo Corruption
1:00 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Mingo Circuit Court Judge Post Remains Unfilled

Credit Associated Press

The seat vacated by convicted former Mingo County Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury remains unfilled more than a month after a deadline under state law to find a replacement.

An advisory panel in December recommended public defenders Teresa McCune and Jonathan Jewell to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin as potential candidates to replace Thornsbury until the May 13 primary election.

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Mingo Corruption
10:24 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Feds to Probe Evidence Handling in Mingo Case

Credit David Benbennick / wikimedia Commons

Federal prosecutors are investigating the handling of evidence in a Mingo County drug case linked to a corruption probe.
 
Mingo County Sheriff James Smith tells the Charleston Daily Mail that a former deputy delivered a box of evidence to the sheriff's department on Monday afternoon.
 

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Mingo Corruption
11:50 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Charges Dismissed Against Figure in Mingo Probe

Credit David Benbennick / wikimedia Commons

A judge has dismissed drug charges against a central figure in a federal corruption investigation in Mingo County.
 

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Mingo Corruption
10:47 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Sentencing Postponed for Ex-Mingo Prosecutor

Credit David Benbennick / wikimedia Commons

A former Mingo County prosecutor's sentencing in a federal corruption investigation has been pushed back a week.
 
Michael Sparks will be sentenced March 5 in U.S. District Court in Charleston. Sparks had been scheduled for sentencing next Monday.
 

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Mingo Corruption
11:12 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Figure in W.Va. Corruption Probe Wants Trial Moved

Credit David Benbennick / wikimedia Commons

A central figure in the federal corruption investigation in Mingo County wants his trial moved out of the county.
 
     Lawyers for 65-year-old George White of Delbarton say their client can't get a fair trial in Mingo County.
 

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Mingo Corruption
11:52 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Ex-Mingo Commissioner Sentenced to 20 Months

Credit Ashton Marra

A former Mingo County commissioner has been sentenced to more than a year in prison on a federal extortion charge.
 
     David Baisden received a 20-month sentence Wednesday in federal court in Charleston.
 
     He pleaded guilty in October to trying to buy tires for his personal vehicle at a government discount in 2009, then terminating the county's contract with Appalachian Tire when it refused to cooperate.
 

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Mingo Corruption
10:19 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Feds Seek Delay in Ex-W.Va. Judge's Sentencing

Credit Associated Press

Federal prosecutors are seeking a delay in the sentencing of a former Mingo County circuit judge so they can have more time to investigate information he provided in a corruption probe.
 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Ruby filed a motion Thursday asking a federal judge to delay Michael Thornsbury's Jan. 13 sentencing by 90 days.
 

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Mingo Corruption
12:35 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Chafin Withdraws Name for Mingo Judge's Seat

A former state Supreme Court candidate has withdrawn from consideration as an appointed circuit judge in Mingo County.

Tish Chafin wrote to the state Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission on Thursday. Commission member Kent Carper tells The Charleston Gazette that Chafin sought the position out of concern that solid candidates wouldn't apply.

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Mingo Corruption
11:48 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Ex-Mingo Prosecutor Pleads Guilty in Federal Case

Credit David Benbennick / wikimedia Commons

A former Mingo County prosecutor has pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge.
 
     Michael Sparks entered the plea Monday in U.S. District Court in Charleston. He faces a year in prison when he's sentenced Feb. 24.
 
     Sparks resigned in October after being charged in a scheme to protect former Sheriff Eugene Crum from revelations that Crum bought drugs.
 
     Crum was shot to death in April in an unrelated attack as he ate lunch in his vehicle.  
 

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