Former Martinsburg W.Va. trooper pleads not guilty to fraud charge

June 03, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A trial for a West Virginia state trooper accused of fraudulent “double-dipping” while working with the law-enforcement agency’s Martinsburg detachment has been set for Oct. 29 in Berkeley County Circuit Court.

Johnathan D. Brand, who now resides in Morgantown, W.Va., was arraigned Monday by 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Christopher C. Wilkes on one felony count of fraudulent scheme.

Dressed in a white shirt, dark blue tie, and dark dress pants, Brand, 25, appeared before Wilkes with his attorney, B. Craig Manford. A not guilty plea was entered on the defendant’s behalf.

Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely said the $5,000 personal recognizance bond set for Brand in Monday’s hearing was acceptable to the prosecution because the defendant had no criminal record prior to being indicted last month.

Games-Neely also said her office knows where Brand resides and indicated that he has a business in Morgantown.

Brand was placed on administrative leave without pay March 27 following allegations he was involved in criminal activity, West Virginia State Police 1st Sgt. Michael Baylous said at the time of his indictment late last month.

Between April 2012 and March 2013, Brand was paid $4,455.35 for days he claimed to be scheduled to attend military training when he was no longer in the U.S. Army Reserve, according to the indictment and Games-Neely.

Under state policy, troopers may be paid for up to 30 days of military leave for such training per year, but Brand left the military in April 2012, Games-Neely has said.

Brand is accused of repeatedly representing to the state police that he was attending the military training and submitted leave requests indicating as much, the indictment alleges.

Baylous said the state police has conducted internal and criminal investigations and that the criminal probe was turned over to Games-Neely’s office, which presented it to the grand jury.

Fake cancer alleged

Among others arraigned Monday in circuit court were Steven Lee Mohn, a Martinsburg man accused of faking terminal cancer after a benefit for him in May 2012 raised more than $4,300 in cash and non-cash contributions, according to his indictment.

Mohn, 39, of 233 Opal Court, was indicted on one count of felony fraudulent scheme and single counts of delivery of prescription drugs, oxycodone and alprazolam in separate allegations.

An Oct. 1 trial was scheduled on Monday for the cases by 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Gray Silver III, according to court documents.

Cornerstone Bible Church and more than 20 area businesses contributed to a poker run benefit for Mohn and his family, the indictment alleges.

Witnesses told state police that Mohn claimed last year to only have 12 to 18 months to live after developing cancer in lymph nodes in his pelvis, chest and neck, the court documents said.

Mohn was later arrested on the drug distribution charges, the  documents said.

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