Former Deputy Pleads Guilty in Bad Check Case
Marlinton, WV – Former Pocahontas County Sheriff’s Deputy Benjamin Wilfong pleaded guilty in circuit court on Tuesday to two counts of attempting to obtain goods by false pretense.
Each misdemeanor charge carries a potential sentence of up to 6 months in jail and a $100 fine.
The charges stemmed from a civil proceeding in Pocahontas County Magistrate Court in early 2009, in which Wilfong presented forged checks as evidence in his defense.
The checks were dated 2003 and 2004 and purported to be from Pendleton Community Bank. However, Pendleton County Bank had not changed its name to Pendleton Community Bank until 2005.
Furthermore, the account on which the checks were drawn did not even exist until 2007, according to the investigation conducted by state police.
As a result of the initial state police investigation, Wilfong was originally charged with four felony counts of counterfeiting and one count of obtaining goods by false pretenses.
In Tuesday’s plea agreement, both Special Prosecutor Patrick Vie and defense attorney Christine Stump recommended Wilfong spend 20 days in jail and serve the remainder of his one-year sentence on probation.
Final sentencing before Chief Circuit Judge James Rowe will take place on May 21.
Until then, Wilfong remains on a $1,000 presonal recognizance bond.
Two months prior to Tuesday’s plea agreement, Wilfong withdrew his lawsuit against the Sheriff’s department. In that case, Wilfong was suing the department for not allowing him to return to active duty, after he was suspended without pay in the wake of the forgery charges.