UPDATE: Rhonda Walker given five years probation after judge suspends prison sentence

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — 7/22/2021 1:10 p.m. UPDATE: A sentencing is handed down to a woman who pleaded guilty to felony embezzlement.

Raleigh County Assistant Prosecutor Tom Truman said Rhonda Walker, the former Director of the Raleigh County Recreation Authority, was originally sentenced to one to ten years in prison on Thursday, July 22, 2021. However, Truman said Judge Robert A. Burnside Jr., who was presiding the case, suspended the sentence and placed Walker on probation for five years.

Truman said the judge provided multiple reasons for the change, including the crime’s nonviolent stature and Walker being a first-time offender. According to Truman, Burnside said the length of the probation could be changed based on Walker’s performance and behavior.

Walker admitted to embezzling $18,536.11 from the Raleigh County Recreation Authority while serving as its director.


BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — 6/9/2021 1:38 p.m. ORIGINAL STORY: Former Director of the Raleigh County Recreation Authority, Rhonda Walker, has pleaded guilty to one count of felony embezzlement.

Walker was originally arrested in 2018 for writing 16 checks to herself from 2012 to 2015. Investigators said she told deputies she wrote the checks to pay herself for vacation time not taken and to “give herself a raise.”

“Ms. Walker would utilize the payroll checks that she had at her disposal to essentially give herself raises, pay for vacation time that she did not take and embezzle funds from the Raleigh County Commission,” Raleigh County Prosecuting Attorney Ben Hatfield said.

Court documents state, in total, Walker embezzled $18,536.11 from the Raleigh County Recreation Authority.

“When someone converts them into your personal use that is a breaking of trust with the public. And we want our public to trust our public officials,” Hatfield continued.

The Raleigh County Parks and Recreation authority changed the way their employees handle money, so something like this never happens again.

“There is a lot more forms that people need to make sure that they fill out when money is exchanging hands. And there is definitely a paper and electronic trail for all money that is collected through Raleigh Parks and Recreation,” Molly Williams, Executive Director of Raleigh County Parks and Recreational Authority said.

Rhonda Walker faces one to ten years in jail and must pay $18,536.11 in restitution. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 22, 2021 at 9:30 a.m., but is subject to change.

Judge Robert Burnside presided over the plea hearing.

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