MARTINSBURG - A federal court has ordered a Berkeley County man to pay the Embassy of Papua New Guinea more than $70,000 in fraudulently obtained funds.

The Washington, D.C., court ordered Graham Michael to pay the Embassy $70,052 plus $270 in court costs. The ruling was passed down May 18.

The case, originally filed Jan. 25, 2006, in Berkeley Circuit Court, was dismissed from the county court three days after it was filed.

In the suit, the Embassy of Papus New Guinea claims Graham and Celine Michael has a long-running scheme to defraud the government. Graham Michael served as the Charge d'Affairs for the Embassy from October 2001 to September 2003. He was also an acting ambassador.

"Michael abused his official position and deliberately defrauded the Embassy through a pattern of fraudulent conduct," the suit says.

The lawsuit states that Michael sought reimbursement for goods he did not need reimbursement for, using copies of fraudulent checks while doing so. Michael also allegedly started a new company and dissolved it after receiving repatriation funds.

The suit also says Michael gave himself extra money in his check for a "representation allowance" two months after he resigned.

Attorney D. Frank Hill III represented the Embassy.

Berkeley Circuit Court case number 06-C-42

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