The woman who made headlines in 2016 for calling Michelle Obama “ape in heels” is in the headlines again for fraud. She falsely claimed $18k in flood relief benefits and has now been sentenced to federal prison.
Pamela Ramsey Taylor, a former West Virginia county official has been sentenced to 10 months in federal prison for making multiple false statements to disaster relief agency FEMA in order to claim undeserved benefits.
"Taylor claimed that her primary residence was damaged by the flood and that she was staying in a rental unit after the flood."
According to a press release from the US Attorney's Office of the Southern District of West Virginia, the 57-year-old managed to earn more than $18,000 from the government by falsely registering herself as a victim of the June 2016 flood in Clay County, West Virginia. The statement detailed,
“Taylor claimed that her primary residence was damaged by the flood and that she was staying in a rental unit after the flood. In fact, her primary residence was undamaged, and she still resided there.”
In addition to her prison sentence, Taylor will be confined for two months in her home and will be under federal supervision for another three years. She was also required to pay the fine of $10,000. Since pleading guilty to fraud, she has paid $18,149.04 in restitution.
“Disaster relief fraud is even more serious because of the limited nature of the funds intended to assist Americans in their time of greatest need”
According to United States Attorney Mike Stuart, Taylor’s actions “took FEMA dollars away from those who needed it the most.” He adds, “Federal disaster benefits are critical to rebuilding infrastructure, homes and lives – not for lining the pockets of individuals who suffered no loss.”
Meanwhile, Special Agent in Charge Mark Tasky of the Department of Homeland Security – Office of Inspector General who investigated Taylor’s case along with the Virginia Commission on Special Investigations highlighted the seriousness of her fraudulence.
“Disaster relief fraud is even more serious because of the limited nature of the funds intended to assist Americans in their time of greatest need,” he said.
On the same year of the flood, she went viral when she referred to Michelle Obama as an “ape” in a Facebook post.
This is not the first time Taylor’s name has made negative headlines. On the same year of the flood, she went viral when she referred to Michelle Obama as an “ape” in a Facebook post. Her exact words were,
“It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I’m tired of seeing an ape in heels.”
Her comment prompted former Clay County mayor Beverly Whaling to chime in and add, “Just made my day Pam.”
Their messages drew attention and were shared thousands of times resulting in Whaling’s resignation and apology. Meanwhile, Taylor was forced to delete the post and issue an apology as well. She was later fired from her job as director of Clay County Development Corp.