Associated Press Published

Ex-Mayor In W.Va. Admits Theft Of Funds From A Hospital Where He Was CEO

A gavel rests on a wooden block. In the background is a scale representing checks and balances.Africa Studio/Adobe Stock

A former town mayor in West Virginia admitted Thursday that he stole funds for personal use from a hospital where he was the chief executive officer.

Charles Hatfield, 61, of Williamson pleaded guilty in federal court to theft or bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds. He acknowledged stealing nearly $35,000 from Williamson Memorial Hospital.

Hatfield faces up to 10 years in prison. Sentencing was scheduled for Sept. 12.

“Charles Hatfield abused a position of trust and diverted funds for personal gain from a community hospital at a time when he knew the hospital and its employees were financially vulnerable,” U.S. Attorney Will Thompson said in a statement.

Hatfield became the hospital’s interim CEO in 2018 and later was named to the position on a permanent basis. He was relieved of his duties in 2019 around the time that the 76-bed hospital filed for bankruptcy, according to court records.

Hatfield was elected Williamson’s mayor in 2017, was reelected in 2021 and resigned earlier this month amid the federal investigation.

Hatfield admitted using nearly $9,200 in hospital funds to settle a lawsuit that sought the payment of delinquent real estate taxes and homeowners fees for a condominium he owned in Venice, Florida. Just before he left as hospital CEO, Hatfield also ordered the transfer of nearly $26,000 in hospital funds to a real estate firm he owned. Prosecutors said Hatfield never requested authorization from the hospital’s board to direct the payments from the hospital to himself.