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Former mayor charged with embezzlement

Updated: Friday, September 13 2013, 08:21 PM EDT

By Jennifer Black


The former mayor of Weirton is facing embezzlement and conspiracy charges following an investigation by the city and West Virginia State Police.

Mark Harris was indicted by the Hancock County grand jury this week and faces three embezzlement charges and one conspiracy charge.

Harris is accused of taking more than $16,000 while he was in office. 

The attorney for the city of Weirton, Vincent Gurrera, said that Harris served as the Weirton mayor from 2007-2011.

“There was some money that was donated to our skateboard plaza that we wanted to have built, and after that there were some funds, and those funds were dissipated.  Later on, as the state maintains, those funds weren’t used for skateboard purposes but for purposes that the state believes was illegal,” Gurrera said.  “We realized it was missing soon after the mayor left office, because we were of course wondering, "Where is that account?' and then later on found that that account was gone.”

Friday afternoon, word of Harris’ indictment spread through the city of Weirton, and residents were reacting to the news.

“When your fair share is going somewhere else, especially from leaders you're supposed to trust, that's pretty upsetting,” Vincent Pino, of Weirton, said.

Jill Jones owns a business just across the street from the Weirton city building and said she was disappointed, but not surprised to learn of the charges against Harris.

“I didn't personally know Mr. Harris, but I've heard things and I’ve heard issues.  I didn't appreciate the fact that the mayor of our town did not even reside in the city in the end of his term,” Jones said.

Gurrera confirmed that Harris was not living in Weirton at the end of his term, and Gurrera believes he had moved to South Carolina, where he may now reside.

Davis said there is a warrant out for the arrest of Harris, and once arrested, he will be placed in jail on $25,000 bond.

Harris’ wife, Nycole Harris is also facing a conspiracy charge.

Former mayor charged with embezzlement

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