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Investigative Report

UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
Northern District of West Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 19, 2006
Acting United States Attorney
Rita R. Valdrini

Media Contact
Fawn E. Thomas,
Public Affairs Specialist
1125 Chapline Street
Federal Building, Suite 3000
Wheeling, WV 26003
(304) 234-0100

Two men Indicted by a Federal Grand Jury sitting in Martinsburg, WV

Acting United States Attorney Rita R. Valdrini announced that: JERRY L. MEZZATESTA, age 59, of 46 S. High Street, Romney, West Virginia, and DAVID S. FRIEND, age 59, of 434 Callen Avenue, Morgantown, West Virginia, were named in a two-count Indictment. Count One of the Indictment alleges that MEZZATESTA and FRIEND conspired to defraud the Board of Education of Hampshire County from January 2004 to June of 2005 by misapplying public funds. Count One further alleges that in July of 2003, MEZZATESTA and FRIEND obtained a grant in the amount of $75,000 from the West Virginia Department of Education which was to be used to fund the Supported Employment Program of the Special Services Workshop in Hampshire County. In February of 2004, MEZZATESTA and FRIEND took actions that resulted in providing a substantial part of the $75,000 to agencies which had not been approved by the State Department of Education. It is alleged that the misapplication of these funds by MEZZATESTA and FRIEND was done with an intent to derive an advantage for MEZZATESTA in his effort to be re-elected to the House of Delegates in 2004. Count Two of the Indictment alleges that in February of 2004, MEZZATESTA and FRIEND misapplied property worth at least $5,000 in Hampshire County, West Virginia. If convicted, MEZZATESTA and FRIEND face a maximum exposure of five years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 on Count One and ten years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 on Count Two. The case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David E. Godwin. The case was investigated by the United States Department of Education/Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

It should be noted that the charges contained in the Indictments are merely accusations and not evidence of guilt, and that each defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.


 
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Last Modified: 09/25/2006