By Lucia Suarez Sang
Published February 19, 2019
The former West Virginia official who made headlines in 2016 when she made a racist remark about then-U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama pleaded guilty last week to defrauding the Federal Emergency Agency out of thousands of dollars intended for flood victims.
Pamela Taylor, the former director of the Clay County Development Corp., pleaded guilty last week to taking more than $18,000 in relief benefits from FEMA that were intended to help those whose homes were damaged in the 2016 floods in the region.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in West Virginia, the 57-year-old woman wrongfully registered for benefits and falsely claimed her primary residence had been damaged by flood waters. She claimed she was forced to stay in a rental property.
However, it was later discovered that Taylor’s home was undamaged by floodwaters and she was still residing there.
Taylor has agreed to pay of $18,149.04 in restitution, prosecutors said.
“The flood was a natural disaster. Stealing from FEMA is a manmade disaster,” said U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart in a statement. “The floods of June 2016 were historic and devastating to thousands of West Virginians. Lives were lost.”
Taylor, who will be sentenced on May 30 and faces up to 30 years in prison if found guilty, first captured national attention after she made a post-presidential election Facebook post saying: “It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a Ape in heels.”
She was removed in December 2016 from her post at the Clay County Development Corp., a nonprofit which provides services to elderly and low-income residents in Clay County. Her Facebook post was not mentioned as a reason for her dismissal.