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Two former bonding business employees accused of writing more than $1.2 million in unauthorized bonds

Mathew Francis and Shelly L. Garrison, both of Martinsburg, are charged with single counts of embezzlement and conspiracy

June 21, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Two former agents for a criminal bonding business are accused of writing more than $1.2 million in unauthorized bonds while conspiring to embezzle from their employer, according to Berkeley County Magistrate Court records.

Mathew Francis and Shelly L. Garrison, both of Martinsburg, are charged with single counts of embezzlement and conspiracy, the court records said.

Francis, 38, was arraigned Thursday by Magistrate Sandra L. Miller, who set a $15,000 personal recognizance bond for the defendant, the records said.

Garrison, 40, who has yet to be arraigned on the charges, was arraigned last month on separate allegations that she conspired to transport illegal drugs into Eastern Regional Jail, records said.

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The alleged embezzlement from A. Regional Bonding Co., which is owned by John Orem, occurred between Oct. 7, 2011, and March 14, 2012, according to a complaint filed against Francis by West Virginia State Police Cpl. J.M. Walker.

Court records indicated Orem contacted police on April 14,  saying he recently discovered the funds had been embezzled after he reconciled his internal weekly bond report with records maintained by the state of Maryland.

The total unauthorized bonds written by Francis was $1,006,600, and Garrison is accused of writing $221,200 in unauthorized bonds, court records said.

After writing the bonds, they are accused of failing to remit the collected money to Orem’s company, which is based in Martinsburg, the records said.

Walker said Garrison, when questioned by police on April 18, indicated she was aware Francis was writing bonds under the umbrella of Regional Bonding and that the bonds were never reported on his weekly report as required, according to the officer’s complaint filed in magistrate court.

Garrison also said she was responsible for not reporting bonds that she wrote under the “umbrella” of Regional Bonding, the documents said.

Walker said in his complaint that Garrison admitted to only embezzling $3,150 from Regional Bonding and indicated that she often did not collect the full bond premium from the client, the  documents said.

Francis on May 4 told police that he was following Garrison’s direction not to report the bonds until about 6 percent of the bond amount was collected from the client, the documents said.

Police said Francis indicated he previously forwarded all money collected on nonreported bonds through his attorney and that amount was $10,172.50.

According to Walker’s complaint, Francis also said that he was aware Garrison was writing unauthorized bonds and keeping the proceeds for personal use.

Orem told police Francis was not following his directive, and his former employee’s actions were against company policy, which was detailed in an employment contract that Francis signed, the documents said.

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