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Former Dunbar accountant waives preliminary hearing in embezzlement case

The former accountant for the city of Dunbar waived her preliminary hearing in Kanawha County Magistrate Court Monday.

Reneda Lynn Welch waived her right to have a magistrate determine if there was enough probable cause in the case against her in order for it to be sent to a grand jury.

Without the preliminary hearing, the case against Welch will be bound over for a prosecuting attorney to present to a Kanawha County grand jury, which will decide whether there’s enough evidence for Welch to stand trial for the crime of which she’s accused.

Welch, 39, of Hamlin, was arrested on April 27 and charged with one count of embezzlement.

She’s accused of embezzling more than $200,000 from the city government over the course of about two years, according to the criminal complaint filed in magistrate court.

Investigators with the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office and the West Virginia State Auditor’s Office conducted the 2-year investigation.

West Virginia State Auditor J.B. McCuskey said Welch embezzled the money by using “ghost accounts,” where she could hide the city’s money for personal use.

The investigation into the alleged embezzlement began in September 2016, Sheriff’s Detective J.A. Payne said in the criminal complaint.

A forensic audit completed by the Auditor’s Office showed that approximately $203,000 was missing, Payne said in the complaint.

Welch is free on bail, according to magistrate court records.

Reach Lacie Pierson at lacie.pierson@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-1723 or follow @laciepierson on Twitter.

Funerals for Saturday, September 21, 2019

Abodeely, Malakee - 11 a.m., St. George Orthodox Cathedral, Charleston. 

Ayers, Helen - 11 a.m., Belcher Family Cemetery, Pinch Ridge.

Backus, Ernest - 2 p.m., First Baptist Church of Rainelle.

Bailey, Jerry - 5 p.m., Chapman Funeral Home, Hurricane.

Carney Jr., Chester - 2 p.m., Cunningham-Parker-Johnson Funeral Home, Charleston.

Carter, Blanche - 11 a.m., Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, North Elkview.

Copen, Louise - Noon, McRoss Baptist Church, McRoss.

Fizer, Donna - 3 p.m., Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview.

Fowler, Jeannette - 1 p.m., Casto Funeral Home, Evans.

Goard II, Mitchell - 5 p.m., Central Community Tabernacle, Charleston.

Hammack, Barbara - 2 p.m., Tyler Mountain Memory Gardens, Cross Lanes.

Kessinger, Wilma - 4 p.m., Canaan Baptist Church, Charleston.

Knight II, James - 6 p.m., Casto Funeral Home, Evans.

Lymon, Daniel - 1 p.m., Grace Bible Church, Charleston.

McKown, Travis - Noon, Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, Wallback.

Miller, Alexander - 4 p.m., Roane County High School, Spencer.

Mitchell, Emma - 2 p.m., Calvary Baptist Church, Hurricane.

Montgomery, Betty - 11 a.m., Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Charleston.

Pfeil, Ruth - 2 p.m., Gatens-Harding Funeral Home Chapel, Poca.

Roush III, George - 12:30 p.m., Tyler Mountain Funeral Home, Cross Lanes.

Samuels, Hazel - 1:30 p.m., Dunbar Kingdom Hall, Dunbar.

Slonaker II, Harvey - Noon, Curry Funeral Home, Alum Creek.

Starks, Henry - 11 a.m., Lantz Funeral Home, Buckeye.

Stooke, David - Noon, Henson & Kitchen Mortuary, Huntington.

Thompson, Thomas - 2 p.m., Tyree Funeral Home, Mount Hope.

White, Duane - 1 p.m., Evans Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Chapmanville.

White, James - 1 p.m., Cedar Grove Middle School, Cedar Grove.

Woodson Jr., Lewis - 1 p.m., Abundant Life Ministries, Charleston.