Alton L. Skinner, II (left) and Roger D. Clem, Jr.
UPDATE 5/9/2019 - Following the suspensions of magistrates, in Gilmer County the WV Supreme Court, Senior Status Magistrate Howard Carpenter will preside in magistrate court from May 9 to May 19, and beginning May 20, Senior Status Magistrate Teresa Robinson will preside in Gilmer County until she is directed otherwise from the court.
In Lewis County, Senior Status Magistrate James Moody will preside in magistrate court until directed otherwise.
Senior status magistrates are magistrates who retired in good standing from their respective counties who preside in individual cases or in magistrate courts, per appointment from the state Supreme Court.
UPDATE 5/8/2019 - Two West Virginia magistrate judges have been suspended in the wake of allegations of wire fraud, mail fraud, and obstruction charges.
Roger D. Clem, Jr., 47, of Weston, a Lewis County Magistrate, and Alton L. Skinner, II, 57, of Sand Fork, a Gilmer County Magistrate, are both suspended without pay by the State Supreme Court of Appeals following an announcement of an indictment Tuesday.
5/7/2019 - Two West Virginia magistrates were indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury on charges involving wire fraud, mail fraud and obstruction charges, federal prosecutors said.
Lewis County Magistrate Roger Clem and Gilmer County Magistrate Alton Skinner were indicted by a federal grand jury, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of West Virginia.
Clem, 47, of Weston, the former police chief of the city of Weston, and Skinner, 57, of Sand Fork, a former member of the Gilmer School Board, were each indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, two counts of wire fraud, two counts of mail fraud and one count of obstruction of justice. Skinner also was charged with one count of false statement to a federal agent.
E-Z Out LLC, based in Sand Fork, is an authorized bonding company in Lewis County. According to company records, E-Z Out is operated solely by Alton Skinner’s spouse, and employs Skinner’s son as an authorized bonding agent. Clem is accused of taking favorable actions in the courtroom for E-Z Out, including setting unnecessary surety bonds.
Clem is accused of calling Skinner to arrange the bond of a detainee without presenting a list of authorized bonding companies to the detainee. Skinner would allegedly arrange for his spouse or son, as agents of E-Z Out, to be present at the arraignment of the detainee without the detainee’s informed choice of E-Z Out among other authorized bonding companies.
Clem and Skinner are accused of causing payments via electronic transmission that traveled outside of West Virginia. The two are also accused of mailing a contract and checks between Skinner’s spouse and Dave Bourne Bail Bonds Inc. in Virginia, the general agent of the underwriter for E-Z Out.
Both men allegedly attempted to obstruct or impede the grand jury investigation. Skinner also allegedly made false statements to a special agent from the Internal Revenue Service Special Investigation Unit.
The United States is also seeking a money judgement in the amount of $18,900.
If convicted, Clem and Skinner each face up to 20 years incarceration and a fine of up to $250,000 for each of the conspiracy, wire fraud mail fraud, and obstruction counts. If convicted, Skinner also faces up to five years incarceration and a fine of up to $250,000 for the false statement count.