Investigation To Be Transferred to Ohio
NEW MARTINSVILLE – The Budget Finance Company investigation has been transferred to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio, according to Wetzel County Prosecutor Tim Haught.
The New Martinsville company closed its doors in mid November.
According to federal officials, the transfer of the matter became necessary after the inquiry revealed that potential victims in the matter include Department of Justice employees who work or reside in the Northern District of West Virginia, according to a press release issued by the Wetzel County Prosecutor’s Office.
As a result, the Executive Office for United States Attorneys determined that the case should be handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Columbus instead of federal prosecutors in West Virginia.
“Apparently the US Attorney’s office in Wheeling has a conflict because DOJ employees may be victims and those persons are either employed in the Northern District or live in the Northern District,” Haught said on Jan. 29. “The US Attorney in Ohio is merely acting as a special prosecutor in the case to avoid a conflict issue.”
According to the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District Office, the entire file, including all documentation submitted by former customers and clients of Budget Finance, has been turned over to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Columbus, Ohio.
Hundreds of Budget Finance’s clients have contacted the Wetzel County Prosecutor’s office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Wheeling to report how they were affected by the business closure.
“This is a serious matter and I am confident that federal authorities are doing all that they can to resolve it,” Haught said. “Unfortunately, this involves complex legal and factual issues and hundreds of people, some of whom have lost their life savings. I am hoping for as swift and complete a resolution as possible.”
Haught said the investigating officers and the venue will remain the same the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia in Wheeling.
The Wetzel Prosecutor’s office said potential victims were notified of the transfer earlier this week and were encouraged to call (614) 469-5715. U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld II’s office said anyone with questions regarding the status of the investigation should contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Columbus at 1-866-532-9098.