• Wed. Nov 29th, 2023

Former World Finance employees’ cases being diverted; restitution made | News

One woman charged with defrauding her former employer has received a diversion of her case and her co-defendant has pleaded guilty in the case and is set to be sentenced to also have her case diverted, according to Commonwealth’s Attorney Tony Skeans.

Bailey Burke, 33, of Salyersville, received a diversion in her case with an agreement to pay restitution in the amount of $2,394.96, which she has already repaid. Burke’s co-defendant, Stephanie Saylor, 45, also of Salyersville has pleaded guilty in her case as well and will receive a similar diverted sentence, according to Skeans.

“Our prosecution dealt with three specific individuals who had sustained monetary loss based on (the two women’s) actions,” Skeans said. “It did not include any claims made by World

Finance, as they had resolved those claims prior to criminal prosecution.”

Skeans said Burke and Saylor had already paid their restitution in full, completing their diversion and leading to the dismissal of their cases, which has already been done in Burke’s case and will soon be done in Saylor’s case.

“They’ve already paid in full restitution, they’ve already brought the money in to the clerk’s office for all three of their victims,” Skeans said. “(Saylor) will get a diversion as well, she pled guilty to a diversion.”

According to Skeans, World Finance had reached a resolution with the defendants based on approximately $15,000 of damages done to the company itself and that prevented Skeans from seeking further prosecution. Once knowledge of the case was disseminated into the community, it became impossible to determine whether additional losses had been inflicted upon any private citizens.

“We began the investigation, and World Finance reached a resolution … for $15,000 that they alleged that they had lost, and that was kind of what we were going to run with, but they went ahead and got paid for the money they had lost,” Skeans said. “The three individuals in the indictment were three individuals that we had identified at that point in the investigation that we could definitively say that damages had resulted to them. After that, and once the knowledge had gotten out into the community … it became too hard to determine if additional money was owed to World Finance or owed to individuals and, based upon World Finance’s actions, there was not much more we could do.”

Burke and Saylor were originally arrested on Feb. 17. According to the indictments, Burke and Saylor were charged in complicity with one another and on three separate charges each, linked to three separate loan accounts which had been fraudulently taken control of by the pair.

According to the documents, Saylor and Burke were charged with theft by unlawful taking (more than $1,000 but less than $10,000) with one offense allegedly taking place beginning on April 7, 2021, another beginning on Feb. 12, 2021 and another beginning on Sept. 28, 2020, totaling approximately $1,243, $1,741 and $1,741, respectively.

The documents said that, on those dates, Saylor and Burke, acting alone or in complicity with one another committed the offense by knowingly and unlawfully taking or exercising control over the amounts listed in monies from loan accounts assigned to customers, two of which belonged to a David Stambaugh, of Thelma, and one of which belonged to a Brett Reynolds, also of Thelma, with the intent to benefit oneself or another not entitled to the monies.

“I actually picked this investigation up … in October, or the beginning of November and we’ve done a bunch of subpeonas and search warrants, we’ve went through files and loans,” Holbrook said. “The girls actually informed the district manager of what they’d done and wrote out a list of names that they’d done it to, but they left several off. We got some loans that people said were not theirs, and they would apply payments to delinquent loans, that way they could get their bonuses.”

Holbrook said that the pair was trying to “stay number one in the region.”

“They said they were trying to stay number one in the region or become number one in the region … I don’t know if they pocketed money or what, but I can say they took money and applied it to other people,” Holbrook said, saying that the pair had also released liens from vehicles on accounts that hadn’t been paid off. “They would give your vehicle back and say that the account was paid off and they hadn’t even applied the money to the account.”

Holbrook said that, off the top of his head, he could think of at least 20 separate incidences that had been discovered through the investigation.

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