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Hearing for Jefferson Co. official charged with fraud continued

July 20, 2007|by DAVE MCMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A preliminary hearing for the director of the Jefferson County Office of Emergency Management who has been charged with fraudulent schemes was continued in Jefferson County Magistrate Court Thursday, an assistant prosecutor said.

The hearing for Darrell Penwell, 52, of 50 Jefferson Ave., Charles Town, was scheduled for 10 a.m. before Magistrate Bill Senseney, said Jefferson County Assistant Prosecutor Ralph Lorenzetti.

The hearing was continued for several reasons, including that Penwell had just been assigned a public defender to handle the case for him, Lorenzetti said.

The hearing also was delayed because the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney's Office might have to seek a special prosecutor in the case, Lorenzetti said.

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A special prosecutor might be needed because the prosecutor's office might have a conflict in the case since it represents the county in civil cases, he said.

No new date for a hearing was set Thursday.

Penwell was charged after he allegedly used a Jefferson County vehicle and gas credit card to travel to meetings and other functions in other parts of the state, according to Jefferson County Sheriff Everett "Ed" Boober.

Penwell would then submit a state travel expense account settlement for payment of the use of his personal vehicle, the complaint alleges.

On other occasions, Penwell allegedly used his personal vehicle to travel to meetings and other functions in the state and used a Jefferson County Commission-issued Sheetz gas card and a credit card to buy gas, lodging and meals for travel, Boober said in the complaint.

Penwell would then submit a state travel expense account settlement requesting reimbursement for expenses that the county commission had already paid for, Boober said.

- Dave McMillion

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