Geoff Dornan

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June 23, 2014
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Head of Podiatry board charged with embezzlement

The executive director of the state Podiatry Board has been charged with embezzling thousands of dollars from that board’s accounts.

Melissa Marie Heyden, director of the board for six years, was charged with allegedly writing checks to her husband Joel Chavez from the board’s bank account and falsifying board financial records to show the checks went to a board member Dr. Kenneth Jarvis.

She was arrested Monday afternoon and jailed in lieu of $5,000 bail on a felony charge of misappropriation/falsification of accounts.

Heyden, 32, resigned the director’s position after being confronted with the charges.

Attorney General’s Special Investigator Wayne Fazzino said in his declaration of probable cause that the problems were uncovered by legislative auditors who advised his office that the balance sheets for the past two fiscal years contained “errors or deficiencies for most items listed on the balance sheets.”

According to Fazzino, Heyden admitted writing the checks during an interview with him and said she deposited them in her and her husband’s joint checking account without his knowledge.

“Ms. Heyden told me that she took the board funds because she was under financial stress with a special needs child and having recently assumed guardianship of three children related to her husband,” Fazzino wrote in his statement.

He said Heyden also said she was prepared to make restitution once the investigation is complete.

Fazzino said she wrote checks payable to cash and her husband totaling $34,700 over the course of more than six months.

“Ms. Heyden told me she panicked when attempting to provide audit information required by the Nevada Legislative Counsel Bureau,” he wrote.

Allison Tresca has taken over the director’s duties at the Podiatry Board and is in the process of reconciling the board’s financial records.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Jun 24, 2014 07:55AM Published Jun 23, 2014 11:19PM Copyright 2014 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.