By Linda Cicoira — Angela Hinman “Angel” Taylor, the former Hallwood town clerk who was charged with 65 felony counts of embezzlement in connection with that job, waived her right to a preliminary hearing Monday in Accomack General District Court, clearing the way for a grand jury to determine if she will be bound over for trial.
Judge Gordon Vincent certified the charges to the jury. He explained that by waiving the hearing, Taylor, 46, of Hall Street in Hallwood, gave up her right to cross-examine the prosecution’s witnesses before trial. Vincent allowed Taylor to remain free on $5,500 bond.
Taylor sat at the defense table with her lawyer, Carl Bundick, as she signed her name on the back of each of the 65 warrants, part of what is required to waive the hearing. The next time the grand jury will convene is Oct. 7.
Hallwood Mayor Jackie Poulson; Special Agent A. Pittman of the state police, who investigated complaints from town officials; and Amber Bowen, an ANEC worker were subpoenaed to appear at the hearing and were in attendance when the decision to waive was announced. The case had been continued three other times. Commonwealth’s Attorney Spencer Morgan is handling the charges.
“The only thing he (Morgan) told me is he was going to come to the town meeting and tell us what is going on,” Poulson said. The next town meeting is on Tuesday, Sept. 3. Poulson said he won’t close the meeting to the public. “I think everyone should hear what is going on.”
Immediately after the October 2017 fire that destroyed Taylor’s car, which she said was full of town records, Taylor quit her job by leaving a note about her departure and details about the fire in the town office for officials to find. Taylor wrote that she put the records in the car to take to the auditor in Atlantic.
The fire occurred a couple of days before the financial documents were scheduled to be turned over to a local bookkeeper for a long-overdue audit, town officials reported. Taylor lives about 350 yards from the town office and mostly did the town work at her home. The fire occurred about five miles from Hallwood on Wessells Farm Road. The vehicle was hauled to a local salvage yard, crushed, and taken away before the town found out about it, Poulson has said.
At one point, the mayor reported that more than $32,000 was either paid from town coffers to Taylor for more than her usual salary or was used to pay the electric bill for her home and at her husband’s auto business. It is alleged that she had the payment for the electric bills set up for automatic payment by the town through the utility.
Poulson and the present clerk, Danny Shrieves, a local minister, obtained the 2017 town budget from an old edition of the Eastern Shore Post, where it had been advertised. The budget shows the clerk’s salary at $4,200. Checks show she was paid $8,585.42 in 2015, $10,367.69 in 2016, and $7,470 in 2017. The charges stem from those years. Poulson noted that occasionally she was paid extra for being at the office to sell vehicle decals.
After Taylor quit, Shrieves was given the job of clerk for $350 a month, the same salary Taylor was supposed to be paid. Poulson has also said that a laptop computer that belonged to the town was missing. He believes it is still in Taylor’s possession.
The town wound up waiving taxes, trash collection fees, and car decal fees for some residents because it couldn’t prove the bills hadn’t been paid. Poulson said when cash was collected it was not deposited. Records that were obtainable from the bank showed the town paid $987 to get grass cut that should have totaled about $500.