Ex-West Virginia Official, Who Called Michelle Obama an 'Ape,' Defrauded FEMA $18K

February 19, 2019 AT 7:24 AM

By Janelle Griffith

The West Virginia woman who made national headlines in 2016 when she was placed on leave from a county development organization over a demeaning Facebook post about then-first lady Michelle Obama has now pleaded guilty to defrauding the Federal Emergency Management Agency out of thousands of dollars of disaster benefits.

Pamela Taylor, 57, admitted on Tuesday that she falsely registered for more than $18,000 in FEMA disaster benefits after historic flooding in Clay County, West Virginia, in June 2016, the U.S. attorney's office said in a statement. Those floods killed 23 people.

Taylor claimed that her primary residence was damaged in the flood and that she was staying in a rental property, the prosecutor's office said. Her home was not damaged, however, and she still lived there.

"The flood was a natural disaster," U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart said in the statement. "Stealing from FEMA is a manmade disaster."

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