The Times West Virginian

May 15, 2014

Former FSU official sentenced to prison

David Tamm also must pay FSU, IRS $1 million-plus

By Richard Babich
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — A former Fairmont State University vice president and chief information officer has been sentenced to serve more than three years in prison for embezzling more than $1.3 million from the school.

According to a press release from the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of West Virginia, David Tamm, 45, of Parkersburg, was sentenced to 46 months in prison. The sentence was handed down Wednesday in a U.S. District Court in Elkins.

“The Court ordered Tamm to make restitution in the amount of $1,324,191.04 to Fairmont State University and $224,759 to the IRS for back taxes,” the press release from U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld’s office read.

U.S. District Judge Irene Keeley imposed the sentencing.

In January, Tamm pleaded guilty to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the university through the use of a state-issued purchasing card, which he used to buy more than 300 computer switches from an electronics company. He admitted that from October 2007 until January 2013 he embezzled and stole money from Fairmont State, including funds from federal education grants.

He also admitted to filing a false tax return in 2012 by reporting he made less money than he actually did.

“Mr. Tamm took money belonging to one of our state universities and then used it to purchase a beautiful home, luxury automobiles and expensive jewelry for his wife,” U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II said previously in a prepared statement. “This is another case of someone abusing a position of trust to live a lifestyle otherwise unobtainable on one’s salary alone.”

Tamm had been placed on unpaid administrative leave from Jan. 28 through April 5; his employment then was terminated, The Associated Press reported.

Formerly, the Federal Bureau of Investigations discovered Tamm used state-issued government purchasing cards to purchase more than 300 computer switches from Pomeroy, an electronics company in Lexington, Kentucky, several times between June 2008 and November 2012. He resold the switches for approximately $638,500, according to the complaint.

Tamm was placed on administrative leave at the university early last year as the result of the investigation occurring at that time. In April, law-enforcement officials swarmed Tamm’s home at Rosewood Heights off State Route 58 in Bridgeport to serve a search warrant at the residence.

In June, a federal court granted a request to protect Tamm’s house because it was believed that Tamm had purchased the house with proceeds from criminal activity. At that time, no charges had been filed against Tamm, but the federal government believed it had the necessary evidence to prove he purchased the property with money obtained through fraudulent actions.

The following month, Keeley approved the sale of Tamm’s home.

In December 2013, Tamm was charged in U.S. District Court with one count of embezzling from a state agency receiving federal funds, and one count of making and subscribing a false tax return for the 2012 tax year.

He first joined Fairmont State in 2005 as the director of network security and servers, and had been overseeing the information technology department since 2009.

Tamm, who is on bond, will self-report to prison next month. After serving his prison sentence, he will be under supervised release for three years and is ordered to pay more than $1.5 million in restitution.

The U.S. Attorney's office filed a motion Wednesday to prohibit Tamm from borrowing against any pension account, individual retirement account or 401k account until his restitution obligation is paid.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Andrew R. Cogar.

Email Richard Babich at rbabich@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @rbabichTWV.