Woman fired after calling Michelle Obama 'ape in heels' gets prison time for FEMA fraud

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A West Virginia woman who sparked outrage when she called former first lady Michelle Obama an "ape" in a 2016 Facebook post has been sentenced to 10 months in prison for defrauding the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The West Virginia MetroNews reported that a federal judge also sentenced Pamela Taylor, 57, to three years of supervised release following her prison term and a $10,000 fine, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of West Virginia announced in a news release last week.

Federal prosecutors said Taylor "falsely registered" for FEMA assistance after deadly floods ravaged Clay County in the summer of 2016.

"Taylor claimed that her primary residence was damaged by the flood and that she was staying in a rental unit after the flood," the news release said. "In fact, her primary residence was undamaged, and she still resided there. Due to her false statements, she received more than $18,000 in FEMA benefits to which she was not entitled."

Earlier this year, Taylor pleaded guilty to embezzling the money, which she has since repaid, officials said.

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"Stealing critical FEMA dollars is a crime – literally and figuratively," U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart said at the time. "Taylor's fraud scheme diverted disaster benefits from our most desperate and vulnerable, those most in need of help."

In late 2016, Taylor, then director of the Clay County Development Corp., was fired after she posted on Facebook: "It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I'm tired of seeing a Ape in heels."

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