Back in 2016, Pamela Taylor made national headlines after she penned a Facebook post using a racial slur to describe former First Lady Michelle Obama. Now she’s making headlines again, this time for allegedly embezzling thousands in disaster relief funds.
Last week, the 57-year-old former director of the Clay County Development Corporation admitted to authorities that she registered for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) relief benefits after deadly floods ravaged her county in 2016. Taylor claimed that her home was damaged in the flooding, forcing her to rent a space to live in. She ultimately received over $18,000 in relief funds, but in actuality, her home was not damaged and she never was forced to live elsewhere.
“The flood was a natural disaster. Stealing from FEMA is a man-made disaster,” U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart said in a statement last Wednesday. “FEMA dollars are critical but limited. Stealing critical FEMA dollars is a crime –- literally and figuratively. Taylor’s fraud scheme diverted disaster benefits from our most desperate and vulnerable, those most in need of help.”
From the Charleston Gazette-Mail:
[Taylor] told FEMA representatives that her primary address was on Main Street in Clay and that her “permanent residence” on the Elk River in Procious was damaged by the flood. In fact, Taylor lived in Bickmore and her home was not affected by the flood. The Procious property was owned by Taylor and her husband but no one lived there at the time of the flood.
Taylor also admitted to giving officials her work address and telling them it was her primary address. The Clay County Development Corporation is located on Main Street in Clay.
In a plea agreement, Taylor will pay back $18,149.04 of the money she fraudulently obtained. When she is sentenced this coming May, she could spend up to 30 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
Back in 2016, Taylor was ousted from her role as Clay County’s Development Corporation director when she mocked Obama in a racist Facebook post just after Donald Trump was elected president.
“It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House,” she said, referring to Melania Trump. “I’m tired of seeing a Ape in heels.”
The post also led to the resignation of the county’s then-mayor Beverly Whaling, who commented on Taylor’s post, writing, “Just made my day Pam.”
Screenshots of the post went viral around the Internet, which prompted the resignations.
Featured image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr