Politics - News Analysis

West Virginia Official Who Called Michelle Obama ‘an Ape in Heels’ Faces 30 Years in Jail For FEMA Fraud

Karma is a beautiful thing folks.

A West Virginia woman who pleaded guilty Monday to defrauding the Federal Emergency Management Agency is the same woman who was fired from a county development agency in 2016 after making a racist Facebook post about then-First Lady Michelle Obama.

Pamela Taylor admitted she took more than $18,000 in flood relief benefits. She falsely registered for FEMA benefits after the June 2016 floods that killed more than 20 West Virginians and destroyed numerous homes along the Elk River and elsewhere.

Taylor claimed that her primary residence had been damaged in the flood and that she was staying in a rental property. In fact, her primary residence was undamaged and she was still staying there, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart’s office.

In her plea agreement, Taylor agreed to pay restitution of $18,149.04. She faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 when she is sentenced on May 30 by U.S. District Judge Irene C. Berger.

Taylor’s name and residences match those of the Pamela Taylor who was suspended from her job as director of the Clay County Development Corporation after a November 2016 Facebook post in which she called Michelle Obama an “ape in heels.”

Taylor was removed from the position in December 2016 after state officials reached an agreement with the agency’s board of directors. Officials from the Bureau for Senior Services said at the time the agency was not following nonprofit law. Her Facebook post was not mentioned as a reason for her dismissal.

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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, FEMA and other agencies either could not or would not say that the woman who pleaded guilty Monday was the same woman removed from her position after the Facebook post.


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