Raleigh County Fire Chief Federally Charged For Mail Fraud

BEAVER, WV (WOAY) – A Beaver Fire Chief is facing mail fraud charges after he requested reimbursements from The City of Beckley, West Virginia University, and the Beaver Volunteer Fire Department for travel and training expenses and supplies that he falsely represented had not been paid, when in fact, he had already been paid.

Federal Court filings show, Michael Cowger, also known as “Moose”, worked for several employers, The Beckley Fire Department, The City of Beckley, a part-time instructor for WVU, and Fire Chief for the Beaver Volunteer Fire Department.

Cowger carried out his scheme to defraud by submitting requests for reimbursements for certain lodging, travel, training, and supplies to the City of Beckley, after those costs were paid by his WVU P-Card and a Beaver Volunteer Fire Department credit card.

Cowger also submitted per diem requests to WVU for meals while he traveled on WVU business, yet also requested direct reimbursements from the City of Beckley for the same meals.  Cowger used his WVU P-Card to purchase gas and rent vehicles, yet requested mileage from the City of Beckley, falsely indicating that he used his personal vehicle for the same travel.

At other times, he would use his personal credit card to pay for expenses, then submitted requests for reimbursements to multiple entities  for the same expenses, knowing he would be reimbursed by all entities.

At times, to disguise his scheme, Cowger used his computer to create fictitious and duplicate receipts.

Cowger received more than 20,000 dollars to which he was not entitled.

Filings show the defraud scheme started around April 1, 2011 and went on until around August 18, 2017.

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