Attorney General Masto Announces Sentencing of Former Executive Director of Nevada Podiatry Board

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 of $34,700.

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 Counsel Bureau.  

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 clicking here.

 (Photo courtesy of Washoe County Sheriff’s Office)