Public Defenders

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

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: “Former Greenberg Traurig Partner Gets 6 Years for Overbilling Client Suburb”

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