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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                          Sept. 22, 2011                   


CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Christopher B. Bledsoe, 33, of Pineville, West Virginia, pleaded guilty today in federal court before U.S. District Judge Irene C. Berger to wire fraud.  A single-count information was filed against the defendant last week.  Bledsoe admitted that he forged the signature of the local circuit court judge to complete payment vouchers and other court documents, so that he could submit falsely inflated invoices to a different third-party vendor.  The vendor and the defendant were both ultimately reimbursed by the Public Defender Service (“PDS”). 

The charge against Bledsoe occurs from an investigation by the West Virginia Commission on Special Investigations into false and fraudulent billings submitted by attorneys for services performed in appointed criminal matters. 

Bledsoe faces up to 20 years in prison and a $200,000 fine when he is sentenced on February 2, 2012. 

The case is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas C. Ryan and investigated by the West Virginia Commission on Special Investigations.

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