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Press Release

Former West Virginia Official Pleads Guilty to Making False Statement

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

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Timothy Priddy, 49, of Buffalo, West Virginia, pleaded guilty today to making a false statement. Priddy admitted that he lied to federal investigators about the verification of invoices for COVID-19 testing that he certified while an official with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WVDHHR).

According to court documents and statements made in court, on August 2, 2022, Priddy was director of WVDHHR’s Center for Threat Preparedness when he was interviewed by federal agents. Priddy had previously been deputy director, and his duties in that position had included reviewing and verifying the accuracy of certain invoices submitted to WVDHHR by vendors supplying COVID-19 testing and mitigation services prior to certifying the invoices for payment. The agents asked Priddy about invoices submitted by a particular vendor that had billed the State of West Virginia for tens of millions of dollars for COVID-19 testing and related services.

Priddy admitted that he knew the agents were investigating the vendor for suspected fraudulent billing, and that information relative to the invoices and subsequent payment was material to that investigation. One series of invoices of interest to the federal investigation related to a COVID-19 testing program for K-12 students, faculty and staff returning to school after the winter holiday break. Priddy certified the K-12 testing program invoices without making any effort to verify their accuracy. Priddy falsely told the agents that he certified the invoices only after two individuals working with the K-12 testing program verified the invoices involved. Priddy admitted that he knew that statement was false.

“After completely failing to verify invoices seeking tens of millions of public dollars, Mr. Priddy significantly affected an important investigation into that spending with his false statement,” said United States Attorney Will Thompson.

Priddy is scheduled to be sentenced on May 9, 2024, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.

Thompson made the announcement and commended the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and the West Virginia Legislature’s Commission on Special Investigations.

"No matter your job or status in the community, it is a federal crime to lie to the FBI," said acting Special Agent in Charge Mike Shanahan. "Priddy lied to the FBI during a critical moment in the investigation. This conviction should serve as a reminder that those who lie to federal agents will face serious criminal consequences for their actions."

Chief United States District Judge Thomas E. Johnston presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorneys Joshua Hanks and Holly Wilson are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:23-cr-162. 

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Updated January 22, 2024

Topic
Coronavirus