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A West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources supervisor has been indicted in a federal investigation involving COVID-19 tests and supplies.
Timothy Priddy, who was appointed director of the DHHR’s Center for Threat Preparedness in 2022, is accused of certifying at least 13 vendor invoices totaling $34.1 million in test kits without verifying their accuracy.
According to the indictment, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the U.S. Postal Service and the West Virginia Commission on Special Investigations began investigating certain vendors to determine if they had provided services for which they had invoiced the state of West Virginia.
The investigation uncovered multiple invoices submitted by one out-of-state vendor not named in the indictment (Company A) totaling approximately $44.7 million for more than 500,000 COVID-19 test kits. But only 50,000 of those test results were reported between October 2020 and March 2022.
The disparity prompted a grand jury investigation, which focused on whether individuals associated with (Company A) had committed wire fraud, theft or money laundering.
Priddy was subsequently accused of lying during an initial interview at his office with an FBI agent and a U.S. Postal Inspector and making false statements before the grand jury.
During his Thursday briefing, Gov. Jim Justice was asked about Priddy’s indictment, saying the pandemic had created confusion throughout the country.
“To say it was not a challenging time, I mean for crying out loud, it was tough stuff,” Justice said. “And Tim Priddy is suspended from the DHHR at this time and we will have to let the court decide on his fate, that’s for sure.”
Donnie Haynes is acting as interim director for the DHHR’s Center for Threat Preparedness.