Woman who called Michelle Obama an 'ape' defrauded FEMA of $18K

"The flood was a natural disaster," U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart said in a statement. "Stealing from FEMA is a manmade disaster."
IMAGE: West Vrginia storm damage
Debris stacks up at the Old White Course at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, in June 2016.Steve Helber / AP file

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
By Janelle Griffith

A West Virginia woman who was fired from her job in 2016 after writing a demeaning Facebook post about Michelle Obama pleaded guilty Tuesday to defrauding the Federal Emergency Management Agency out of thousands of dollars in disaster benefits.

Pamela Taylor, 57, admitted to falsely registering for more than $18,000 in FEMA disaster benefits after flooding in Clay County, West Virginia, in June 2016, the U.S. attorney's office said Wednesday in a statement. The floods killed 23 people.

The Morning Rundown

Get a head start on the morning's top stories.

Taylor claimed that her primary residence had been damaged in the flood and that she was staying in a rental property, the prosecutor's office said. Her home was not damaged, however, and she still lived there.

"The flood was a natural disaster," U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart said in the statement. "Stealing from FEMA is a manmade disaster."

In her plea deal, Taylor agreed to pay restitution of $18,149.04. She faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 when she is sentenced on May 30.

Taylor could not immediately be reached for comment.

Taylor's name and residences match those of the Pamela Taylor who was fired from her job as director of the Clay County Development Corporation after the November 2016 Facebook post, according to The Charleston Gazette-Mail.

After Donald Trump's election as president, Taylor wrote 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."