BECKLEY, W.Va. -- A former Pineville official who admitted stealing public funds has been sentenced to 18 months in prison.Former Town Manager Brandee Phillips-Ellis also must pay more than $80,000 in restitution, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said Wednesday.Phillips-Ellis, 30, of Pineville had pleaded guilty in March to a federal theft charge. U.S. District Court Judge Irene Berger sentenced her on Tuesday in Beckley.
Goodwin said Phillips-Ellis took more than $80,000 from the Town of Pineville and the SAFE Housing Economic Development Inc. in McDowell County between March 2009 and Dec. 27, 2011. She used the money to pay her husband's personal credit card bill, buy a vehicle and for other personal uses."It's inexcusable when people abuse a position of trust to line their pockets with money that was intended to support two essentials of a strong community: housing and schools,'' Goodwin said in a news release. "Criminals who steal from public coffers are not only breaking the law -- they're hurting communities that count on every dollar to provide and maintain services for their citizens.'' Phillips-Ellis told Berger during Tuesday's sentencing hearing she was ashamed of her actions, The Register-Herald reported.