CHARLESTON – Kanawha County Magistrate Julie Yeager resigned on Thursday amid embezzlement allegations.
On Wednesday, a complaint was filed in the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, alleging that Yeager embezzled approximately $14,000 from the West Virginia Magistrate Association, where she had served as treasurer.
A report of the allegations by the Judicial Disciplinary Counsel was filed with the state Supreme Court on Thursday.
During the course of the investigation, the JDC spoke with multiple magistrates and other individual and obtained bank records from the WVMA; video surveillance of the lobby and drive through of the Dunbar and Charleston/Tennessee Avenue branches of Wesbanco; minutes of the WVMA board meeting for Feb. 6; and a printout of the Kanawha County Magistrate Court financials for at least a period of two years, according to the JDC’s report.
On July 18, Kingwood branch Wesbanco employee Dolly Manko attempted to call Yeager and tell her that the association’s bank account was overdrawn. When she could not get a hold of her, she contacted Gilmer Magistrate Carol Wolfe and told her.
Wolfe expressed concern that she did not understand how the account could be overdrawn because she believed there was more than $30,000 in the account.
Tucker Magistrate Riley Barb after the incident, he told Yeager he wanted her to immediately resign as treasurer and she told him that she would, and she also asked him if she should resign as magistrate, which he did not advise her as to what she should do about that position.
The court was asked to consider the JDC’s report of allegations, however, Yeager resigned on Thursday.
“Having maturely considered the report pursuant to Rule 2.14(c) of the Rules of Judicial Disciplinary Procedure, the Court is of the opinion that there is probable cause to believe [Yeager] has engaged or is currently engaging in serious violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct,” the court wrote in an order Thursday.
Had she not resigned, the court would have suspended her without pay and prohibited her from judicial functions during the investigation, according to the report.
The magistrate court association is a due-paying organization for the state’s 158 magistrates, according to the JDC report.
The association’s annual dues total $7,900. Yeager had been the treasurer of the organization since 2010.
Yeager reportedly repaid the money on Wednesday to Wesbanco.
Yeager was first elected a Kanawha County magistrate in November 2004, took office in January 2005, and has served continuously since then until her resignation.
W.Va. Supreme Court of Appeals case number: 17-0635