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Public Defenders

2 Lawyers Face Federal Wire Fraud Cases re Alleged Overbilling as Contract Public Defenders

Posted Sep 13, 2011 1:10 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Two West Virginia lawyers have been federally charged with wire fraud in unrelated cases concerning their alleged overbilling as court-appointed public defenders.

Jeremy Vickers, 36, allegedly billed for work days exceeding 24 hours on 173 occasions, while Christopher Bledsoe, 33, is accused of forging a judge's signature on payment invoices and other court documents supporting inflated invoices, reports the Charleston Gazette.

The article relies on information from U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, who says in a press release that the two are expected to plead guilty.

An attorney representing Vickers didn't immediately return a phone call from the Associated Press seeking comment, and the news agency says court documents don't list a lawyer for Bledsoe.

The Gazette article notes that a third lawyer was sentenced to six months in federal prison last year in a similar case and says a probe by the West Virginia Commission on Special Investigations into billing fraud by appointed lawyers in criminal cases resulted in the charges against Bledsoe and Vickers.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Former Greenberg Traurig Partner Gets 6 Years for Overbilling Client Suburb"

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