ABINGDON, VA (WJHL) – The former mayor of Clinchco, Va. in Dickenson County pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges in Abingdon federal court Tuesday.
According to a federal court news release, Peggy Sue Stanley Mickens, 50, of Clinchco, Va. pleaded guilty to fraud charges stemming from her use of town funds used to make improvements and repairs to her home while serving as the town’s mayor.
Mickens pleaded guilty to one count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds, one count of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud.
“This defendent misused her position of public trust for her own personal benefit,” U.S. Attorney John Fishwisk, Jr. said. “We will continue to look into all manner of public corruption and prosecute those who misuse public money for their own benefit.”
Mickens was elected as Clinchco’s mayor in May 2012, at which time she gained access to and possession of the town’s banking instrument, credit cards, invoices and banking statements, according to evidence presented at hearings by the Russell County Commonwealth’s Attorney and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Patton.
According to the release, Clinchco received around $20,000 from the Department of Housing and Urban Development by a Community Development Block Grant in 2013.
The funding was to be used to rehabilitate homes or construct new homes in the town.
On Tuesday, Mickens said she hired a contractor to remodel her home and paid for it from the town’s BB&T account via checks she signed.
According to the release, Mickens did paid from the town’s BB&T account with knowledge or consent of the town’s officials.
Mickens also admitted Tuesday to using a Lowe’s credit card maintained by the Town of Clinchco on Aug. 26, 2013 , charging $662 from the Lowe’s store in Wise, Va. to get materials for her home. She said the purchases were made without the knowledge or consent of the town’s officials.
FBI and the Virginia State Police investigated the case.
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