A federal grand jury has indicted West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry on a number of serious crimes, from fraud to making false statements and witness tampering.
The indictment says the FBI investigated Loughry under suspicion that for years, he had engaged in a scheme to defraud the government of West Virginia – and that he lied to FBI agents when he was questioned in March.
Loughry, 47, has been suspended without pay, the state Supreme Court says.
West Virginia has five Supreme Court justices, who are elected to 12-year terms. Loughry took office in 2012 and became the court's chief justice – a rotating position — in January of 2017.
In addition to being a judge, Loughry wrote a book about political corruption in West Virginia; it was published in 2006.
Federal charges against the judge were unsealed on Wednesday, more than three months after that interview. The indictment says that Loughry:
- Falsely claimed mileage for car trips in which he had actually used a Supreme Court vehicle "and used a government credit card for gasoline";
- Used official vehicles and credit cards for personal use under false pretenses, and "lied to other Justices of the Supreme Court about his vehicle usage";
- Illegally "converted to his own personal use, a valuable and historic desk that belonged to he Supreme Court," taking it home to his own office;
- Lied about his actions to government investigators and tried to mislead them by "accusing others of malfeasance, and engaging in other fraudulent conduct."
In addition, the indictment says, Loughry tried to influence a Supreme Court employee's testimony, after questions arose last October about the costs of renovating and furnishing his office.