CHARLESTON, W.Va. – United States Attorney Mike Stuart announced today that a federal jury sitting in Charleston returned unanimous guilty verdicts following the trial of former Logan County Schools Superintendent Phyllis Doty, 68, of Logan. The guilty verdicts came after a four day jury trial before Senior United States District Judge David A. Faber. The FBI and the West Virginia Legislature Commission on Special Investigations conducted the investigation.
“Guilty. Guilty on all counts,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “We’ve placed an intense priority on public corruption. Violations of the public trust by public officials, a position of trusted authority, is a true cancer to society. Standing in defiance of public corruption is a fundamental priority for this United States Attorney and the United States of America. I want to thank the tireless work of the FBI, the West Virginia Legislature Commission on Special Investigations and AUSAs Gabe Wohl and Erik Goes and our entire team for their shared commitment in defiance of public corruption.”
Doty was found guilty of eight felony charges, including four counts of wire fraud, two counts of theft from a program receiving federal funds, one count of mail fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft and faces up to 122 years in prison when she is sentenced on January 30, 2019.
Doty, who retired from Logan County Schools in 2016, stole over $12,000 in electronic devices purchased by the Logan County Board of Education and used public funds to decorate and supply her son’s August 2015 wedding. The scheme began in 2011 when the Logan County Board of Education regularly purchased Apple iPods and iPads for Logan County Schools staff. The jury found that between 2011 and 2015, Doty stole at least 20 of these devices, and either sold them on eBay for profit, or gave them to family members as gifts. Doty directed the purchase of the devices or purchased them herself, and then sold them online or gave them away to her family.
Doty’s scheme included ordering over $6,500 in wedding supplies with Logan County Board of Education money. These items included bread baskets, easels, drink dispensers, columns, decorative urns and a colonnade. Doty claimed that these items were requested by Logan County teachers, however, the teachers knew nothing of these orders and the items mostly remained in boxes until they were used for the wedding. Evidence at trial showed that Doty gave some of these items away to the wedding planner following the wedding.
Doty attempted to cover up her scheme once an investigation into suspicious spending became public by attempting to influence Logan County teachers of the falsehood that she had permission to take iPods purchased by the Logan County Board of Education, and then by Doty asking the wedding planner to return the gifted items to a Logan County school.