07/10/2022

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South Point woman pleads guilty to theft from airport – The Tribune

Hall admits to taking $49,000 from ATM, vending machines

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A South Point woman pleaded guilty on Tuesday to theft of federal funds after embezzling nearly $49,500 from the Huntington Tri-State Airport while employed as its finance director.

Melissa Sue Hall, 46, of South Point, was the airport’s finance director from September 2017 until Jan. 8, 2021, and was responsible for accounting, depositing and withdrawing funds from multiple revenue sources including ATMs and vending machines.

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia said Hall admitted that between May 2020 and Jan. 8, 2021, she stopped depositing the full amounts she collected from these machines into the airport’s bank accounts and also took money from those accounts intended for deposit in the ATMs.

During this time period, Tri-State Airport received at least $10,000 per year in federal funding, which was deposited in its bank accounts. Hall admitted to diverting nearly $49,500.

Hall pleaded guilty to theft from programs receiving federal funds. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 15 and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Hall also agreed to pay restitution in the case.

United States Attorney Will Thompson made the announcement and commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Huntington Tri-State Airport Police and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department for conducting the investigation.

United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorney Ryan A. Keefe is prosecuting the case.