Beaver Vol. Fire chief resigns, interim leader chosen - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Beaver Vol. Fire chief resigns, interim leader chosen

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BEAVER, W.Va. (WVVA) Beaver's Volunteer Fire Chief has resigned, effective Friday, June 1, 2018. 

According to sources inside the department, Michael Cowger's departure came following the announcement of a federal investigation on Friday.  Cowger was charged with mail fraud on Friday after federal investigators said he billed multiple places of work for the same reimbursement expenses during a time period between April of 2011 and August of 2017. According to the complaint, Cowger is accused of pocketing more than $20,000 in the scheme. 

Beaver Vol. firefighter Jason Redden was appointed as interim chief. He also works as a sergeant with the Raleigh County Sheriff's Dept. 
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BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) A Beckley firefighter was charged with Mail Fraud by federal investigators on Friday. 

Michael Cowger of Beckley allegedly billed multiple places of work for the same reimbursement expenses, according to court documents filed in the U.S. Southern District of West Virginia on June 1, 2018,

During time periods between April of 2011 and August of 2017, the complaint said Cowger was employed by the City of Beckley as a firefighter, West Virginia University as an instructor, and the Beaver Volunteer Fire Department as chief. 

The complaint said Cowger was given a P-card at WVU, a credit card he was able to use for vehicle and meal expenses. The documents said Cowger would then seek reimbursement for the expenses again at his other places of work, including the City of Beckley, and during that time falsely represented that he had not sought reimbursement from other entities. 
 
"Beaver Volunteer Fire Department also gave the defendant Michael Cowger access to their credit card to pay for certain expenses and training," the court documents read. "At times, to disguise his scheme, defendant Michael Cowger used his computer to create fictitious and duplicate receipts."

Additionally, federal investigators charge that the defendant manipulated his hotel and training reservations and payments at times to ensure he received two receipts with two different credit card numbers for the same events to conceal from the City of Beckley that he had used his WVU P-Card to pay for the events. 

"As a result of his scheme, defendant Michael Cowger received more than $20,000 to which he was not entitled."

To view the full complaint, visit ecf.wvsd.uscourts.gov/doc1/20119194599

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