FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 12, 2019
Fire Marshal busts bogus would-be electricians
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Four
individuals lied when they applied to become West Virginia-licensed
electricians and then showed up to take the necessary exam Tuesday – apparently
unaware that a multi-agency investigation was on to them.
The men were approached and
arrested by the State Fire Marshal’s Office, which had uncovered their scheme
and led the resulting probe. They were among the 150 or so who applied to take
the four-hour test in downtown Charleston.
While the four provided names
during their initial appearances in Kanawha County Magistrate Court, their
identities were still being verified Tuesday. The men allege they reside in
Virginia. Each is charged with forgery of a public record, a felony.
The Fire Marshal’s Office
administers and enforces the state’s electrical licensing program. It received
an application earlier this year that raised concerns about identify theft and
fraudulent credentials. The resulting investigation and heightened scrutiny
flagged additional applications, leading to Tuesday’s arrests.
Fire Marshal Ken Tyree said
the case underscores the importance of safety rules that protect the public.
Besides the threat from unsafe or hazardous work performed, Tyree cited the
potential for further fraud. He noted as well that West Virginia’s electrical
licensing program has reciprocity with several other states.
Several fellow Department of
Military Affairs and Public Safety agencies are assisting the Office of the
State Fire Marshal: the W.Va. State Police, W.Va. Intelligence Fusion Center,
Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and Division of
Corrections and Rehabilitation. Charleston Police, the U.S. Attorney’s Office
and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are also aiding the probe, which
remains ongoing. Those charged are innocent until proven guilty.
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Public Information Specialist
(304) 558-2191 ext. 53205