Law enforcement and community members honored by U.S. Attorney at awards ceremony in Wheeling
WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA – Nine law enforcement and community representatives were recognized today for their outstanding work in the greater Wheeling area.
U.S. Attorney Bill Powell recognized the U.S. Marshal Service, FBI Special Agent Matthew Berthinet, IRS Special Agent Tami Devericks, WV Special Commission on Special Investigations Investigator Jeff Shriner, WV State Police Sgt. J.W. Smith, FBI Forfeiture Specialist Amy Boyd, U.S. Postal Inspector Lindsay Weckerly, Ziegenfelder Frozen Treat Company, and WV Human Trafficking Task Force Coordinator Wuela Heceta for their contributions to create safer communities.
“It is my great honor to recognize those in our community who go above and beyond to protect our children, our community and our national security. While this year has created some unique challenges, it hasn’t thwarted efforts to protect and serve our neighbors. Those honored today never seek recognition, but it is important to let the public know about the accomplishments of our law enforcement and community members. I thank each and every one of them for their continued service,” said Powell.
The U.S. Marshal Service was recognized for their exemplary service in the Northern District of West Virginia. The Marshals consistently face danger as they make arrests on behalf of federal criminal cases. The Marshals are always helping with community outreach, as well. From several tours throughout the year to attending our Meet and Greet the Safety Fleet event in Wheeling in the fall, they never say no. They are the highlight of the tours in the Wheeling courthouse, always wowing visitors with their demonstrations and informative tours of their space. For their partnership in criminal cases, as well as in the community, The U.S. Marshals received the Outstanding Contribution Award.
FBI Special Agent Matthew Berthinet, IRS Special Agent Tami Devericks, WV Special Commission on Special Investigations Investigator Jeff Shriner, and WV State Police Sgt. J.W. Smith were awarded the Outstanding Investigative Effort Award for their work on the case of U.S. v. Harry Radcliffe, et al.. This 14-month, four-agency investigation involved the relationship between Ohio County Magistrate Harry A. Radcliffe and W&S Bail Bonding d/b/a A Bail Bonding by ABC (“ABC”), owned by William W. Seelbach, and for which his then girlfriend, Jolynn Gilchrist, worked as a bonding agent. The investigation included about 65 Grand Jury subpoenas, 25 Grand Jury witnesses, and 125 interviews. The result has been the identification of a three-year bribery/kickback scheme (2013-2015), involving approximately $22,000 of cash payments from Seelbach to Magistrate Radcliffe, which income he did not report to the IRS.
Radcliffe and Seelbach both entered guilty pleas to Klein conspiracy offenses arising from these payments. Radcliffe’s plea agreement included a factual stipulation that Seelbach offered these payments as bribes. Seelbach was sentenced to a term of probation. Radcliffe was sentenced to four months in prison. Radcliffe also resigned.
FBI Forfeiture Specialist Amy Boyd and the Forfeiture Unit in Pittsburgh oversees the FBI forfeitures in this district. Her team goes above and beyond other agency forfeiture units to support the Northern District of West Virginia in forfeiture efforts. They review search and seizure documents routinely to locate assets that would be part of an investigation, well in advance of the time of indictment, to ensure that all property subject to indictment is accounted for in the forfeiture phase of the case. They are the only agency willing to forfeit, upon request, amounts under threshold (5,000 for cash is the threshold) so that drug proceeds aren’t returned to defendants. Because of all the hard work, Amy Boyd is the recipient of the Outstanding Forfeiture Investigations Award.
In U.S. v. James Joseph Michaels, U.S. Postal Inspector Lindsay Weckerly and her team interdicted a parcel full of narcotics bound for Wellsburg. The agents located firearms which led to the indictment of the defendant. Inspector Weckerly testified at a four-hour suppression hearing. Weckerly’s testimony was precise, and she withstood some tough accusations while keeping her cool and reiterating the facts. Without Weckerly’s testimony, the case might not have ended with a guilty plea. Michaels pled guilty and was sentenced to five years of probation. Lindsay Weckerly was presented the Outstanding Investigative Effort Award.
The ceremony was held in U.S. Bankruptcy Judge David L. Bissett’s courtroom at the Wheeling Federal Courthouse and included remarks from U.S. Attorney Bill Powell and the presence of many local, state and federal law enforcement leaders from throughout West Virginia.
Other ceremonies are being held in Martinsburg and Clarksburg to honor more recipients of the U.S. Attorney Awards.