HUNTINGTON — A former employee of a Huntington insurance and investments company was arraigned Monday in an indictment accusing her of embezzling and laundering more than $400,000 from the firm.
Jessica Lynn Bailey, 40, was indicted this month on six counts of forgery, five counts each of fraudulent use of an access device, embezzlement and uttering, two counts of computer fraud and one count each of fraudulent schemes and money laundering, all stemming from her employment with Pryce Haynes Associates.
Assistant prosecutor Joe Fincham said he believes Bailey to be the first charged with money laundering charges in state courts in the entire state.
Bailey originally had been charged in April with four similar counts in magistrate court, but the charges then only described the allegations as stealing “in excess of $1,000.” She had been scheduled for a preliminary evidence hearing Monday, but a grand jury already had returned a 25-count indictment against her earlier this month.
Bailey entered a not guilty plea Monday at her arraignment before Cabell Circuit Judge Gregory Howard. Howard said he would allow her to remain out of jail on a $50,000 bond, however for it to remain in place, she must turn over three vehicles, a camper, a golf cart and a diamond ring to the case’s lead investigator, Huntington Police Detective Jason Davis, by 4 p.m. Tuesday. The items will be held pending the outcome of the case and could be used as collateral to repay the victim.
According to the indictment, Bailey had been employed as an office manager and bookkeeper with Pryce Haynes Associates from September 2016 to April 2019, at which time she became an authorized user on the company’s Capital One credit card and opened an American Express account without the company’s permission.
Bailey is accused of making 1,944 transactions with those cards, totaling more than $328,123, to spend on goods and services for her personal use. She allegedly used the money for personal vacations, clothing, food, Weight Watchers, attorney fees, child support and more personal items.
The indictment alleges in order to conceal the transactions, she embezzled nearly $400,000 from the victim’s bank accounts and laundered the money by making payments to the credit cards.
She is accused of embezzling $58,000 from the Pryce Haynes Associates’ health savings account by forging documents to liquidate funds in the account, $322,781 from the company’s bank accounts in 216 transactions and another $14,883 from an automated clearing house account. The defendant also allegedly forged 41 checks made to cash totaling $29,216.
The indictment says at one point Bailey forged her boss’ signature on loan documents for a travel camper, which was purchased with the victim’s credit card and included interest. The camper was later traded in for a new one and titled into another person’s name in order to conceal the fraud, the indictment said.
The embezzled and laundered funds were placed into two bank accounts and 13 PayPal accounts, which are all listed as forfeiture items in the case, along with the vehicles and ring taken into possession by police this week.
Bailey is scheduled to return to court Aug. 27 to let Howard know if she plans to keep her current attorney, Chad Hatcher, or will need new representation.