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Press Release

Goodwin Honors Law Enforcement And Victim Support Professionals For Public Service Excellence

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

State Police Cpl. Marshall Bailey and Tpr. Eric Workman honored posthumously for major drug investigation

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Law enforcement officers whose investigative work led to the convictions of a former Massey Energy executive, a Logan pill mill operator, an aspiring Hollywood actor who orchestrated a multimillion-dollar extortion plot, and a Michigan pedophile were among the honorees recognized today during the 2013 Law Enforcement and Victim Assistance Awards ceremony. The ceremony, hosted by U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, honored more than 60 individuals for outstanding law enforcement work on major cases involving drug crime, violent crime, workplace safety, and child exploitation at the Robert C. Byrd Federal Courthouse in Charleston.  

“I am delighted to honor so many of our state’s most dedicated and respected law enforcement officers, crime victim advocates and community leaders,” U.S. Attorney Goodwin said.  “These tremendously talented men and women have been engaged in vital work – often painstaking and dangerous work – that has removed drug dealers from our streets, strengthened community and workplace safety, eliminated fraud and abuse and made justice a reality for countless crime victims throughout southern West Virginia.”  

Among the honors presented today were posthumous awards to West Virginia State Police Cpl. Marshall Bailey and Tpr. Eric Workman.  Troopers Bailey and Workman initiated an investigation of methamphetamine dealer Raymond Hersman, who ran a pipeline that moved huge quantities of meth from North Carolina to West Virginia.  In May, a federal jury convicted Hersman, 44, of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.  Law enforcement agents began investigating Hersman’s meth distribution scheme in 2012.  Cpl. Bailey and Tpr. Workman were an integral part of the Hersman investigative team, working on the case until the time of their deaths. Hersman faces a mandatory minimum of 20 years in federal prison when he is sentenced on Dec. 12.   

In August of last year, Cpl. Marshall Bailey and Tpr. Eric Workman were shot and killed in the line of duty following a traffic stop near Clay County.  Goodwin, who dedicated the awards ceremony to the two fallen officers, said, “This is perhaps the last investigation on which the late Trooper Eric Workman and the late Corporal Marshall Bailey worked. The superb efforts of these heroes paid off with a major drug dealer behind bars.”

Also during Friday’s ceremony, Goodwin presented the Law Enforcement Agency of the Year honor to the West Virginia State Police.  Goodwin, who thanked the State Police for its partnership with his office, said, “The West Virginia State Police has one of the strongest and longest-running commitments to public safety in the nation."  Goodwin continued, "The members of the State Police do their work with extraordinary pride and purpose, and routinely go above and beyond the call of duty for the citizens of West Virginia.” 

In Friday’s ceremony, FBI Special Agent Joseph Ciccarelli received the Exceptional Career Service Award. Ciccarelli, a West Virginia native and a 28-year veteran of the FBI, will retire in January 2014. Ciccarelli is the former Supervisory Senior Resident Agent of the FBI’s Charleston, W.Va. field office. In his FBI career, he has investigated nearly every kind of offense in the FBI’s jurisdiction, ranging from child abductions to public corruption to major drug distribution rings. Ciccarelli’s work has resulted in hundreds of criminal convictions, including, last year, the convictions of a Lincoln County, W.Va. county commissioner, sheriff and county clerk in an election fraud scandal. Recently, Ciccarelli has played a central role in the ongoing federal investigation of public corruption in Mingo County, W.Va. He began his law enforcement career with the Huntington Police Department before joining the FBI. As an FBI Special Agent, Ciccarelli has served in St. Louis, Missouri; Miami, Florida; and Charleston and Huntington, West Virginia.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent James Lafferty was presented with the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award.  Special Agent Lafferty, an 11-year veteran of the FBI, has investigated a variety of complex criminal cases involving prescription drug traffickers and medical fraud, as well as mining and workplace safety investigations in southern West Virginia.

Agents from the FBI, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations were presented with the Outstanding Workplace Safety Investigation award for the investigation of David C. Hughart, the longtime president of a Massey Energy Company subsidiary. Hughart was sentenced in September to three-and-a-half years in federal prison. He was convicted of conspiring to violate federal mine safety laws and thwart federal mine inspectors by warning Massey mines when inspectors were approaching. Hughart is among the highest-ranking executives ever convicted in a mine safety investigation, and his sentence is believed to be the longest ever in a mine safety case.

Agents from the FBI, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General, and the West Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations were presented with the Outstanding Prescription Drug Diversion Investigation award for the arrest of a Logan doctor responsible for operating a pill mill. Investigators discovered that from September 2011 through March 2013, Dr. Fernando Gonzales-Ramos was operating a cash-only business in Logan where he charged patients $500 in exchange for prescribing them powerful narcotics.  Investigators found that Gonzales-Ramos’s makeshift office had no exam table, no running water, and no medical equipment.  Dr. Fernando Gonzales-Ramos was sentenced in September to five years and eleven months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose.

Three federal agents from the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service were presented with the Outstanding Violent Crime Investigation award for the arrest and conviction of Vivek Shah, an aspiring actor from West Hollywood, California. Last year, 26-year-old Shah orchestrated a multimillion-dollar extortion scheme that targeted seven prominent victims, including movie producer Harvey Weinstein, Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky, West Virginia coal executive Chris Cline, and several others.  During the scheme, Shah sent letters threatening to kill family members of his victims unless his targets wired tens of millions of dollars into offshore bank accounts. The case against Shah concluded in September, when he was sentenced to seven years and three months in federal prison. 

Also on Friday, a group of nearly 20 police officers from West Virginia and Michigan received the Outstanding Project Safe Childhood Investigation Award for the conviction of Michigan pedophile Ashlee C. Liebert. In late 2011, thirty-four-year-old Liebert, of Whitmore Lake, Michigan, established a relationship with a minor child residing in Putnam County, W.Va.  After communicating with the minor using e-mail and a cellphone, Liebert traveled from Michigan to Putnam County, West Virginia to meet the child to have illegal sexual contact.  Police officers with the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department discovered Liebert and the minor inside Liebert’s parked vehicle near Buffalo, W.Va.  Officers obtained a search warrant for Liebert’s vehicle.  A Michigan state search warrant was also executed on Liebert’s Whitmore Lake residence on March 10, 2012, the same day the defendant was arrested by police in West Virginia.  During the execution of the search warrant, officers seized several computers from Liebert’s residence.  A forensic review of Liebert’s computers revealed more than 600 images and videos of child pornography.  Liebert was sentenced in June to 12 years in federal prison followed by 20 years of supervised release for traveling in interstate commerce with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor.

Goodwin also presented a group of educators from the Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary School and officers from the Charleston Police Department with the Award for Professional Innovation in Victim Services.  The award recognizes their collaborative effort on the West Virginia Defending Childhood Initiative, which helps students who have been exposed to violence. A main component of the pilot initiative is a unique program dubbed “Handle With Care.” When officers encounter a child who has been exposed to violence – either as a direct victim of abuse or neglect, or as a witness to violence in the home or community – a Handle With Care notice is forwarded to the child’s school to alert teachers and school staff.  As a result of the initiative, staff members at Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary School, along with their law enforcement partners from the Charleston Police Department, are developing a better understanding of the impact of trauma on learning and how they can work together to support children facing difficulties. 

Also on Friday, Goodwin presented the West Virginia Crime Victim Service Award to representatives from Legal Aid of West Virginia and the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence for advocacy and assistance to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence.  The West Virginia Legal Assistance to Victims Partnership, a collaborative effort between Legal Aid of West Virginia and the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, provides court based advocacy and legal representation to victims of domestic violence by offering solutions to help break the cycle of violence.  Legal Aid and the Coalition Against Domestic Violence have worked to support 14 regional teams of attorneys and advocates providing comprehensive services to help crime victims attain self-sufficiency and independence from abuse.

The information provided below lists the award category, along with the name of each individual and/or agency honored Friday:

Outstanding Child Advocacy Center
Child Youth and Advocacy Center

Outstanding Violence Against Women STOP Team
Raleigh County STOP Team

West Virginia Crime Victim Service Award
Legal Assistance to Victims Partnership:
Legal Aid of West Virginia and the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Outstanding Volunteer Service
Cpl. Errol D. Randle, Charleston Police Department

Award for Professional Innovation in Victim Services
West Virginia Defending Childhood Initiative
Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary School & The Charleston Police Department

Outstanding Community Partner
Trifecta Productions, LLC

Outstanding Criminal Justice Partner
West Virginia Division of Justice and Community Services

Outstanding Project Safe Childhood Investigation
United States v. Ashlee Liebert

Putnam County Sheriff’s Dept.
Sgt. Ryan E. Lockhart
Sgt. Allen Savilla
Det. Shawn Johnson
Dep. R. K. Lyon
Dep. William Seanze, Jr.                     
Dep. Chad Ashley      
Dep. Brian Donohoe
Federal Bureau of Investigation
SA Jason Bollinger
SA J. T. Waggy

 SA Jeff Long 
SA Evan Patterson
Melinda Cash

West Virginia State Police
David Miller
Cristalle Workman

Northfield Township Police Dept.
Inv. Jason Roberts
Officer Richard Paquette
Officer Tim Greene

CAMC Child Advocacy Center
Maureen Runyon

Outstanding Workplace Safety Investigation
United States  v. David Hughart

Federal Bureau of Investigation
SA James Lafferty
SA Sherry Payette

U.S. Dept. of Labor, OIG
SA Jeff Carter 
Internal Revenue Service, CID
SA Karen Atkinson

Outstanding Violent Crime Investigation
United States v. Vivek Shah

Federal Bureau of Investigation
SA Jim Lafferty
SA Brian Clarity

U.S. Postal Inspection Service
Postal Insp. Josh Mehall

Outstanding Medicare Fraud Investigation
United States v. Shida Jamie

SA Mary Ann Withrow

West Virginia Medicaid Fraud Control Unit

Federal Bureau of Investigation                      
SA Jim Lafferty
SA Brian Clarity
Tammi Blundon

Outstanding Prescription Drug Diversion Investigation      
United States v. Dr. Fernando Gonzales-Ramos

Federal Bureau of Investigation
SA Jim Lafferty
SA Todd Berry
Dean Lauffer

SA Mary Ann Withrow
SA Scott Cruikshank

West Virginia State Police, BCI
Cpl. Terry Toney
TFC Jared Brewer

Outstanding Drug Investigations (3 investigations receiving awards)

United States v. Raymond Hersman

Charleston Police Dept./MDENT
Lt. Chad Napier
Det. Keven Allen
TFO Chris Powell

Clay County Prosecuting Attorney
Jim Samples

North Wilkesboro Police Department
Ptlm. Monty Wolfe

West Virginia State Police
Sgt. James Light
Cpl. Marshall Bailey   
Tpr. Charles Maynard
Tpr. Eric Workman

United States v. Alvaro Jaime, et al.

Drug Enforcement Administration
SA Tom Bevins
SA Wren Ray

Huntington Police Department
Cpl. John Franklin
TFO Curt Nethercutt

United States v. Kevin Robinson and Jermaine Dickerson

Drug Enforcement Administration
SA Tom Bevins
SA Wren Ray

Charleston Police Dept./MDENT
TFO Chris Powell

Huntington Police Department
Capt. Rocky Johnson  
Lt. Eric Corder
Lt. John Ellis
TFO Curt Nethercutt
TFO Craig Preece
TFO John Franklin
PFC Paul Matovich     
PFC Jamie Leist

Law Enforcement Officer of the Year
Special Agent James Lafferty, FBI

Drug & Violent Crime Task Force of the Year

Law Enforcement Agency of the Year
West Virginia State Police

Click here to listen to an audio sound bite from U.S. Attorney Goodwin

Updated January 7, 2015