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Martinsburg man accused of stealing thousands from disabled brother

Kenneth Leroy Bivens was arraigned Thursday on one felony count of embezzlement

April 04, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A Martinsburg man is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from his disabled brother in the last five years, according to Berkeley County Magistrate Court records.

Kenneth Leroy Bivens, 55, of 6 Midnoon Drive, was arraigned Thursday by Magistrate JoAnn Overington on one felony count of embezzlement, according to court documents.

West Virginia State Police Cpl. J.M. Walker said he identified $126,044 in funds that were missing and/or converted by Bivens for his personal use, according to a criminal complaint filed against Bivens.

The embezzlement allegedly occurred between March 3, 2007, and Sept. 18, 2012, according to court documents.

Walker said the defendant stated “the money was there and he didn’t think anyone would find out what he was doing” when questioned about his motive for taking the money, according to the officer’s complaint.

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Walker said the transactions in question included nearly $13,000 for a 2000 Ford F-150 from Hagerstown Ford and checks from the victim’s City National Bank money market account that were made payable to cash totaling $34,078, according to court documents.

Walker said Bivens said the vehicle purchase was justified since he was taking care of his brother since late 2006, but later agreed the expenditure was “excessive” in regards to compensation.

Bivens told the officer that his brother became mentally disabled in 2005 and that the defendant and his sister were “thrown into the role of conservator and guardian” for him.

The defendant also told police that the victim had been living with his sister in Preston County, W.Va., since the end of 2006, except for a six-month period of time when he was staying with Bivens, according to court documents.

Walker said the defendant admitted that he might have stolen $20,000 from his brother and also acknowledged that he frequently used his brother’s ATM card for personal expenditures, according to court documents.

In regard to about $50,000 in missing deposits in the victim’s accounts, Walker said the defendant told him last month that he could not recall where the funds were placed, according to court documents.

Walker said Bivens told him in a second statement last month that 75 percent of the ATM transactions totaling $19,982 were for his personal use, according to court documents.

Bivens also provided clarification for questioned expenditures he made at Walmart, Sam’s Club, Big Lots and 7-Eleven, among other transactions, according to court documents.

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