Ohio County magistrate seeks interim to replace Radcliffe

WHEELING — Ohio County Chief Magistrate Joe Roxby has asked for an interim replacement to pick up the caseload of suspended Magistrate Harry Radcliffe.

The West Virginia Supreme Court suspended Radcliffe without pay on June 6 in light of a shopping list of federal charges accusing him of soliciting and accepting bribes from a Wheeling bail bonding company and concealing those bribes from the state of West Virginia and the IRS; directing defendants and their families to ABC Bail Bonding without offering other options as required; altering bonds to require a bonding company; and collecting the bribes via credit card and interstate travel.

“Typically, a senior status magistrate fills temporary vacancies in our court system,” Roxby said. “I have no information on when that may happen.”

He said Radcliffe has a right to contest or appeal his suspension.

Radcliffe, 60, of Triadelphia also is accused of failing to report $26,500 in income on his 2013-15 state and federal income taxes. The government is seeking a financial judgment in that amount.

ABC Bonding owner William W. Seelbach, 68, of North Fort Meyers, Fla., and former ABC employee Jolynn Gilchrist, 49, of Wheeling, face related charges in the case.

A two-count bill of information charges Seelbach with conspiracy to defraud the United States — impede the Internal Revenue Service, and failure to report $144,030 in income to the IRS in 2012. The allegation contained in the indictment contends that Seelbach would deliver cash bribes to Radcliffe in exchange for a promise to take official actions in favor of ABC Bonding.

An information document alleges Gilchrist filed a false 2015 income tax return.

Count one of the indictment against Radcliffe accuses the magistrate of soliciting and accepting bribes from Seelbach and Gilchrist. It states he would make false and fraudulent representations to defendants appearing before him. Wire fraud charges stem from the use of telephones to facilitate the activities.

According to the indictment, Radcliffe on Dec. 13, 2012, directed the mother of a defendant to pay a bonding fee to Gilchrist without informing her of the option to select another bonding company. On Jan. 7, 2013, Radcliffe allegedly modified a $350,000 cash-only bond previously set by another magistrate to a surety bond requiring the use of a bonding company. He is accused of later faxing a letter falsely representing that ABC Bonding had posted bond on behalf of a detainee to the Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville.