September 26, 2014
Reno, NV – Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto
announced that Melissa Marie Heyden, 32, of Reno, was sentenced this week after
she pleaded guilty to misappropriating and falsifying the financial accounts of
the Nevada State Board of Podiatry.
“This sentence sends the message that everyone has one set of rules to
follow, and that those, regardless of their title, who rip off the State will be
prosecuted,” said Masto.
Heyden was sentenced Wednesday for one felony count of misappropriation and
falsification of accounts by a public officer. Washoe County District
Court Judge Patrick Flanagan Flanagan sentenced Heyden to 12-30 months in the
Nevada State Prison, suspended, and ordered that she be placed on probation for
up to 60 months. Heyden was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount
An investigation by the AG’s office revealed that Heyden, while serving as
the Executive Director of the Nevada State Board of Podiatry, repeatedly issued
checks from the Podiatry Board’s bank account to her husband, Joel Chavez, and
deposited the funds into their joint bank account. The investigation
revealed that Heyden falsified the Podiatry Board’s accounts to show that the
checks had been issued to members of the Podiatry Board. Heyden’s
embezzlement was initially discovered when she failed to submit required
financial documentation on behalf of the Podiatry Board to the Legislative
The misconduct occurred between May 2012 and January 2014.
The case was prosecuted by Deputies Attorney General Daniel M. Roche and
Abigail J. Moran.
Read the guilty plea agreement by
(Photo courtesy of Washoe County Sheriff’s