MARTINSBURG - A Martinsburg lawyer and her office manager were charged with defrauding the state Public Defender Service by turning in false vouchers totaling nearly $275,000.

Heidi J. Silver Myers, 29, and Nancy P. Burkhart, 48, were each charged Tuesday in a 112-count federal indictment. Each woman was charged with one count of conspiracy, 99 counts of mail fraud and 12 counts of wire fraud.

Myers owns Myers Law Group, in Martinsburg and Burkhart is the office manager. They are charged with conspiring to submit vouchers for court-appointed work Myers did not perform. Also, other vouchers falsely billed the agency at $45 per hour for work attorney time, when work was actually performed by paralegals and other employees.

According to the indictment, vouchers were also submitted for research, court hearings and other work when Myers was actually traveling on a cruise ship in the Caribbean.

According to the Associated Press, the voucher scheme was allegedly conducted from July 2004 to July 6, 2006. Between Jan. 24, 2005 and March 21, 2006, Public Defender Services paid vouchers totaling $274,580,38.

If convicted of all charges, Myers and Burkhart each face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Each fraud count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.




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