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Press Release

Former Barbour County Sheriff Sentenced To Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of West Virginia

1125 Chapline Street, Federal Building, Suite 3000 ● Wheeling, WV 26003
(304) 234-0100 ● Contact: Matthew Lyman, Public Affairs Specialist/Community Outreach Coordinator

ELKINS, WEST VIRGINIA – The former Sheriff of Barbour County, West Virginia, was sentenced to prison today for scheming to defraud an insurance company, according to United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II.

John W. Hawkins, 48 years of age, of Philippi, West Virginia, was ordered to serve 12 months and 1 day in prison as a result of his felony conviction for “Mail Fraud” in February. Hawkins, who resigned from his position as Barbour County Sheriff when he entered his guilty plea four months ago, will self-report to prison on in July. He must also make full restitution.

Hawkins admitted to staging an automobile accident in April of 2013 and then conspiring to fabricate a report for submission to Nationwide Insurance Company so that his claim would be approved. Hawkins agreed that he used the United States Mail to make a fraudulent claim in the amount of $8,262.65, which was paid to him by Nationwide last year.

United States Attorney Ihlenfeld and Assistant United States Attorney John C. Parr prosecuted the case on behalf of the government.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office Public Corruption Unit. Agents and officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the West Virginia State Police led the inquiry into Hawkins. Assistance was provided by the West Virginia Insurance Commission, Fraud Investigations Division.

Chief U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey imposed a sentence above the advisory sentencing guideline range. Judge Bailey cited the betrayal of trust by Hawkins to the citizens of Barbour County as a reason for the increase sentence.

Ihlenfeld urges anyone with information regarding public corruption in their community to call the West Virginia Public Corruption Hotline at 855-WVA-FEDS (855-982-3337), or to send an email to

Updated January 7, 2015