MIL-OSI Security: Former Williamson Memorial Hospital CEO Pleads Guilty to Federal Theft Crime

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Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) State Crime Alerts (c)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Charles Hatfield, 61, of Williamson, pleaded guilty today to theft or bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds. Hatfield, who recently resigned as mayor of Williamson, admitted that while chief executive officer of Williamson Memorial Hospital he stole $34,872.62 in hospital funds for personal use and without authorization.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Hatfield became the hospital’s interim CEO in September 2018. As CEO, Hatfield had control over the hospital’s finances and bank accounts, directed payments of the hospital’s funds, and had custody and control of the hospital’s checkbook. Hatfield was the permanent CEO when he was relieved of those duties in September 2019. Around that time, on Oct. 21, 2019, the rural, 76-bed hospital filed for bankruptcy.

On May 16, 2019, Hatfield directed that $9,197.62 in hospital funds be used to purchase a cashier’s check made payable to an individual at Venice Sands Apartments-Argus Management of Venice in Florida. Hatfield admitted that he used the hospital funded-check to settle a personal lawsuit demanding the payment of delinquent real estate taxes and homeowners’ fees he owed for personal condominium property he owned in Venice.

On September 25, 2019, Hatfield directed the transfer of $25,675 in hospital funds to Mid Mountain Properties, a real estate company owned and operated by Hatfield. The transaction occurred just days prior to Hatfield being relieved as CEO, and shortly before the hospital filed for bankruptcy. Hatfield admitted that he was aware that the hospital could not appropriately fund its employee benefits programs, including retirement and healthcare plans at the time he directed the transfer. Hatfield further admitted to telling his business partners that he used the transferred funds to pay a personal obligation.

Hatfield also admitted that he never requested or received authorization from the hospital’s board of directors or anyone else at the hospital to direct the payments from the hospital to himself.

Hatfield is scheduled to be sentenced on September 12, 2024, and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. Hatfield also owes $34,872.62 in restitution.

“Charles Hatfield abused a position of trust and diverted funds for personal gain from a community hospital at a time when he knew the hospital and its employees were financially vulnerable,” said United States Attorney Will Thompson. “I commend the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the West Virginia State Police-Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), the United States Secret Service, the U.S. Department of Labor- Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) and investigator Steve Rowley in this office for their investigative work, and Assistant United States Attorney Andrew J. Tessman for the prosecution of this case.”

United States District Judge Irene C. Berger presided over the hearing.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:24-cr-74. 

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