Pamela Taylor, a 57-year-old woman from West Virginia, is a person you might remember from viral headlines quoting her racist word choice back in 2016. What did she say? Oh, she just called then-first lady Michelle Obama an “ape.” In a comment on Facebook, Taylor wrote, “It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a Ape in heels.”
After this grossly racist comment went viral, she was placed on leave from her job as director of the Clay County Development Corporation. Now, she’s making headlines again, for a different reason. The Charleston (West Virginia) Gazette-Mail reports that in this case, she’s pleaded guilty to embezzling thousands of dollars in federal disaster relief. Specifically, she admitted that she falsely registered for FEMA disaster benefits after a major flood in Clay County. The flood hit West Virginia in June 2016, and set records as a 1,000-year old flood event.
It was deadly.
Taylor claimed that her home was damaged by flood waters, resulting in her staying in a rental property. Makes sense, potentially. However, after she received more than $18,000 in FEMA benefits as a result of her falsified application, it turned out her home wasn’t damaged. She still lived in it, in fact.
How is this shaking out for Taylor? Not very well. Which is, obviously, exactly what she deserves.
Her plea agreement hearing was last Tuesday. She agreed to pay restitution of $18,149.04. Her sentencing is scheduled for May 30, when she faces a fine of up to $500,000 and up to 30 years in prison. In a statement on Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart said: “The flood was a natural disaster. Stealing from FEMA is a man-made disaster. FEMA dollars are critical but limited. Stealing critical FEMA dollars is a crime — literally and figuratively. Taylor’s fraud scheme diverted disaster benefits from our most desperate and vulnerable, those most in need of help.”