Former town recorder sentenced in Webster County for embezzlement, forgery

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WEBSTER SPRINGS, W.Va. – A former recorder has been sentenced for stealing money from a Webster County town.

A judge sentenced Tracy Bell, 50, to two sentences of 1-10 years in prison for forgery and embezzlement, according to the West Virginia State Auditor’s Office.

The plea was the result of an investigation conducted by the West Virginia State Auditor’s Public Integrity & Fraud Unit.  Bell was the recorder for the Town of Cowen from May 20, 2015 to February 8, 2018.  By virtue of her position, she stole $46,552.24 for her own use, according to a press release.

Bell appeared before Webster County Circuit Judge Jack Alsop Tuesday, where she received 1-10 years in state prison on each charge, to be served consecutively.  Upon completion of her prison sentence, Bell will serve an additional seven years probation, according to the state auditor’s office.

Bell has agreed to pay restitution to the Town of Cowen in the amount of $48,675.20, including the embezzled funds, interest of $445 and $860 in fees and costs.  Bell also agreed to pay $15,372.20 in restitution to the State’s Auditor’s Office for the cost of the investigation, according to a press release.

“It takes aggressive prosecution to ensure this conduct will not be tolerated any longer in the Mountain State,” State Auditor John B. McCuskey said. “Whether it’s the Cowen town hall, or the halls of the State Capitol Building, we must work together to say enough is enough. The theft of the people’s money will not be acceptable anymore, and we are so proud to work with our state’s county prosecutors.”

Cowen Mayor Paula Carpenter said, “I thank Auditor McCuskey and the Court for their work in holding Ms. Bell responsible for her actions.  We look forward to being on sound financial footing from this point on in the town of Cowen.”

McCuskey encourages anyone with information regarding state or local fraud to call (833) WV-FRAUD or file an online complaint at

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