July 24, 2014

Spencer lawyer charged for allegedly overbilling Public Defenders Office

A state audit that found an attorney overbilled the state Public Defenders Office has now resulted in felony charges against the man. The Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation says arrest warrants have been issued for 60-year-old Ney Mcdaniel of Spencer, who worked on a contract basis in Clay County.

Mcdaniel is charged with ongoing criminal conduct, first-degree theft and first degree fraudulent practice. DCI Special Agent, Mitch Mortvedt, says Mcdaniel is not yet in custody. “We’re working to try and locate him — not that he’s running from us — I don’t want to give a misconception,” Mortvedt says.

He says it’s a matter of contacting Mcdaniel and arresting him. “We believe that he may possible be out of state — which we knew of ahead of time — and are working on that with his counsel,” Mortvedt says. The state audit released in July showed nearly $178,000 of improper payments to Mcdaniel. The audit said Mcdaniel submitted one claim for 80 days where he said he worked 24 hours or more in a single day. He submitted several other claims for hours worked — between August 31st of 2007 and March 31st of 2011.

Public Defender Sam Langholz released  a statement following the audit of Mcdaniel’s work that said the Mcdaniel case spawned an ongoing statewide review of the program and the contracts of four other attorneys have been terminated.