ABINGDON, VA (WJHL) – A federal grand jury indicted Bristol Virginia Utilities chief financial officer Stacey Pomrenke Monday afternoon in a 15-count indictment.
According to federal court documents, the federal grand jury indicted Pomrenke on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States by defeating the lawful functions of the Internal Revenue Service, knowingly making materially false statement and representation, interference with commerce by threat or violence, attempt and conspiracy to commit fraud and fraud by wire, radio or television.
Pomrenke asked for presents from businesses that did business with BVU and gave gifts to employees without them being taxed, according to federal court documents. Those presents included:
- Requested businesses that did regular business with BVU join the Bristol Chamber of Commerce while Wes Rosenbalm was president. Documents show the email stated, “If a company does regular business with BVU, they need to join… it goes without saying, but I am going to say it, we have been good to these companies they need to return the favor to us and it will cost very little money to do so.”
- 4 tickets to the Reds games vs Braves game in 2010 and again in 2012
- Suite tickets to the August, 2011 race at BMS
- University of Kentucky basketball or football tickets for Wes Rosenbalm and his 5 kids
- Pay for alcohol purchases for a customer appreciation event in 2011
- Received a bottle of bourbon for a Christmas gift, said she wanted something else next year
- Received gift cards and gift certificates from stores, spas and restaurants for Christmas gifts
- Requested tickets to Keenland in 2012
- Charlotte Panthers tickets in 2012
- Companies to pay for employee Thanksgiving lunch, Christmas Dinner and employee’s children Christmas party
- Requested gift cards and cash bonuses for employees but didn’t run it through payroll to be taxed
- BVU gave out at least $48K in bonuses that were not reported to the IRS
- BVU bought a vehicle from her and her husband for $31,000 (did not report to IRS)
- BVU allowed 5 other employees to use government owned vehicles from non-business related personal use (did not report to IRS)
- BVU spent $69,748 on memberships to Bristol Country Club for Pomrenke, Rosenbalm and two others. Not reported to IRS to be taxed
News Channel 11 sat in on BVU’s board meeting Monday afternoon and there was no mention of Pomrenke or former board member Paul Hurley’s recent guilty plea.
Pomrenke was also present Monday’s board meeting.
After learning of Pomrenke’s indictments, News Channel 11 reached out to leaders at BVU. Short of confirming the fact that Pomrenke was indicted, BVU CEO Don Bowman said “no comment at this time” about her charges.
Sharon Kyser, Marketing Director at BVU said Pomrenke is still CFO, at this time, and they have not yet had the opportunity to process what this all means.
“…BVU is really shocked and we’ve been thrown in a whirlwind, ” said Kysor. She added to her knowledge, Pomrenke had not been arrested at this time.
BVU Board Chairman Jim Clifton told News Channel 11″
I have so many conflicting emotions going on. I feel so sad for great friends who it appears have made some (bad) choices. BVU is on a healing path, with a new CEO and new board members. I pray all things work out for the good of Bristol ratepayers.
Her attorneys sent News Channel 11 the following statement back in August:
…Unfortunately, the investigation has spiraled out of control, and innuendos and allegations have been freely made during this time. We emphatically state that she has done nothing criminally wrong, and is innocent of any of the allegations being made. In fact, she was the original person who reported improprieties in the conduct of Mr. Rosenbalm. She intends to aggressively defend herself in these matters and would ask that she not be pre-judged based upon the publicity being given to the affairs at BVU. She is and intends to continue to be a dedicated employee at BVU.
Hurley pleaded guilty Monday morning to mail fraud and perjury before a federal Grand Jury. He faces up to 25 years in prison and up to a $500,000 fine.
United States Attorney, Tony Giorno, told News Channel Monday afternoon, “I’m not sure how pervasive it is, we certainly have found people engaging in misconduct, but I think by and large, the folks at BVU have tried to run a good ship, they have been cooperative with us, and hopefully this will be the end of it. We’ll find the wrongdoers there and we’ll have a clean slate.”
News Channel 11 is still gathering the details. Continue to follow us for the latest details.