TAYLOR COUNTY—A former Taylor County Emergency Medical Squad (TCEMS) Medic appeared before 19th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Alan D. Moats in Taylor County Circuit Court to admit to two felony charges against him.
According to Taylor County Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Christopher Miller, who represented the state of West Virginia in the matter, 32-year-old Jeffrey Wayne Simmons, of Morgantown, was present with his counsel, Scott Shough, after entering into a negotiated plea agreement.
During the hearing, Simmons pleaded guilty to one count of fraudulent schemes and one count of fraudulent use of an access device.
For his actions, he was facing a potential sentence of not one nor more than ten years in prison on the fraudulent schemes charge and not more than ten years in the penitentiary for his fraudulent use of an access device. If served concurrently, he was looking at a total of one-to-20 years behind bars.
However, in return of his guilty plea, the state would recommend that those sentences be served consecutively, essentially reducing his term by ten years.
According to Miller, between July 17, 2020 and June 23, 2021, Simmons used a government issued gas debit card belonging to TCEMS to purchase gas for his personal vehicle. Each of the agency’s ambulances are outfitted with a card to allow crews to purchase fuel for the vehicle while on shift.
According to a criminal complaint filed by Grafton City Police Department Patrolman Misty Nicholas, she was contacted on June 8 of this year by another employee with allegations of the fraudulent use of the gas card by the defendant.
After obtaining video surveillance footage from the gas station Simmon’s attended, she witnessed him inserting a card into the gas pump’s card reader, enter digits on the keypad and then proceed to put unleaded fuel into his personal vehicle, a Dodge pickup.
Throughout the course of the investigation, Nicholas learned that Simmons would take the gas card for an ambulance he knew would not be used while he was not working and would return in on his next shift.
During the 11-month span of time, the card was utilized a total of 37 times, resulting in $1,873.61 in charges.
“The state would have easily been able to prove that the transactions were made for his own personal benefit, as most of the ambulances run on diesel fuel and the purchases were for unleaded fuel,” Miller voiced. “That information, coupled with the video surveillance and bank records presented a strong case against the defendant.”
When Moats questioned the motive behind the crime, Simmons told the court he simply did not have the money to purchase gasoline, according to Miller.
The court found Simmons guilty on both charges, and the proceeded to address sentencing.
For the charge of fraudulent schemes, Simmons was sentenced to one-to-ten years in prison and for the charge of fraudulent use of an access device, he received a determinate term of five years in prison.
That sentence was suspended and Simmons was placed on three years of probation through the Taylor County Probation office, where he would be subject to the terms and conditions of that program.
In addition, Moats ordered that Simmons would be responsible for paying restitution to TCEMS in the amount of $1,873.61.