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Report: Gov. Justice appoints Mark Sorsaia as Secretary of Dept. of Homeland Security


​West Virginia Homeland Security Secretary Sandy is a 1976 graduate of Parkersburg High School, a 1979 graduate of Marshall University with a BBA specializing in accounting, and a 1980 graduate of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center with a designation of special agent with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Criminal Investigations Division. He is designated as a certified fraud examiner and a certified anti-money laundering specialist.

Sandy was then assigned to a wide variety of criminal investigations, including the successful prosecution of a judge in Ohio. From 1982 to 1993, he was assigned to the Presidential Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force in the Northern Judicial District of West Virginia.  During that time, Sandy worked on several significant investigations which resulted in him receiving the Attorney General Award, West Virginia U.S. Treasury Employee of the Year, Mid-Ohio Valley Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, and several commendations from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.  In 1991, he became the first West Virginia law enforcement officer to be nationally recognized as an expert in the field of money laundering.  He has trained federal, state, county, and local law enforcement officers, and was selected to train dignitaries from Russia and the Baltic countries in the field of money laundering.

In 1993, he accepted the supervisory special agent position for the Southern Judicial District of West Virginia in Charleston.  By 1996, his group was recognized as one of the top agencies in the U.S. in a major university study.  Then in 2000, Attorney General Janet Reno and U.S. Attorney Rebecca Betts commended his office for their investigative work on the Keystone Bank failure; two major drug investigations that resulted in 63 convictions and $1 million dollars in forfeitures; the conviction of a West Virginia mayor on a multimillion dollar check-kiting scheme; and an international fraud and money laundering conspiracy involving a Huntington businessman and an Atlanta attorney.  In total, his group, through the U.S. Treasury Asset Forfeiture Fund, shared more than $2.5 million dollars with the WV State Police.  On multiple occasions, he was selected for long-term managerial assignments in Baltimore, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit, and Louisville.  

After the terrorist attacks of 2001, Agent Sandy received orders to immediately depart to a secure facility in the eastern U.S.  The Office of the Secretary of the Treasury designated Sandy as the special agent in charge of the security of the facility for 24 consecutive days.  Sandy then volunteered to work on counter-terrorism efforts in Washington, D.C. and by an executive order by President George W. Bush, worked in Baghdad, Iraq, and Doha, Qatar. He received the honor award from Secretary of the Treasury John Snow and the Department of Defense achievement medal for his investigative work in the Middle East.  Agent Sandy believes one of his proudest career moments was when he secured the cooperation of Tariq Aziz, the deputy prime minister of Iraq, and when the U.S. Department of Defense and United States Army Major General Keith W. Dayton said the following about his work in Baghdad:

“Agent Sandy participated in dangerous, high stress missions to meet with sources that resulted in actionable intelligence.  He conducted a financial investigation of the sale of billions of dollars of Iraqi oil throughout the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Asia. Agent Sandy used all legal means to freeze the former Iraqi regime’s assets and protect them from being used by terrorists.”  

In 2005, he became a member of the nationally recognized U.S. Department of Justice State and Local Anti-Terrorism Training Program.  Per a “Rand Corporation Report” published in November 2016, Sandy has been involved in the training of more than 146,000 law enforcement officers in 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.  He has guest lectured for the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces, the West Virginia State Police and Fusion Center, and dozens of state, county, and local law enforcement agencies. 

Sandy was elected sheriff of Wood County in 2008.  Upon taking this position, Sandy inherited an office that was antiquated, and during his time serving as sheriff modernized it with new investigative techniques and equipment.  He established an Intelligence unit and started the widely accepted intelligence-based policing.  

While sheriff, he was selected by Gov. Joe Manchin to serve on the board of the Regional Jail Authority, and in 2012 was elected as the chairman of the Regional Jail Board.  He also served on the board of the West Virginia Sheriff’s Association.  In 2012, he was named the Marshall University Distinguished Alumnus of the year.

In 2013, he returned to private practice, and in 2015, he formed a forensic investigative partnership with Jodey Altier, the president of Perry & Associates, Certified Public Accountants A.C.  Their goal is to provide services to protect federal, state, and local governments, businesses and individuals from fraud and corruption. 

In May 2015, he had the honor of training in Israel, and being selected as a speaker at the 10th Annual National Anti-Terrorism Conference in Orlando.  He is the author of a training manual for law enforcement called “Trace It” that has been provided free of charge to more than 85,000 law enforcement officers in the U.S.

Sandy is married to Renee Moffit from Akron, Ohio.  They have three children who are all graduates of Marshall University.  Ben and Matt are certified public accountants and Brittany is a school teacher specializing in special education.