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Ex-West Virginia mayor sentenced for pocketing relief funds

October 12, 2021 GMT

RICHWOOD, W.Va. (AP) — A former mayor in West Virginia was sentenced to one to 10 years in prison Tuesday for stealing federal relief funds meant to rebuild his city after a massive 2016 flood.

Ex-Richwood Mayor Bob Henry Baber was sentenced in Nicholas County Circuit Court for his August guilty plea to one count of obtaining money, property or services by false pretenses, news outlets reported.

Baber also will have to pay back more than $2,400, the amount he was accused of pocketing from the city of Richwood.

In June 2016, thunderstorms caused major flooding in the region, including a river that runs alongside Richwood. Baber led Richwood in the wake of the flood.

According to the state auditor’s office, the city had received more than $3.1 million in federal flood recovery money from 2016 to 2018, and a portion of that was diverted by city officials for personal use.

In 2018 a three-judge panel approved the city council’s request to remove Baber from office.