York County public defender accused of stealing thousands of dollars from private client
York County Public Defender Nancy Waldron is facing a felony theft charge on allegations that she stole tens of thousands of dollars from a private client in Fillmore County under the guise of legal services.
Waldron, 59, of Exeter, could face up to 20 years if she’s convicted.
She’s set for arraignment Aug. 15.
Assistant Nebraska Attorney General Ryan Swaroff filed the complaint Tuesday alleging Waldron took the money between Jan. 31, 2017, and Jan. 17, 2018.
In an affidavit for Waldron’s arrest, Nebraska State Patrol Investigator Eugene True said Fillmore County Sheriff Bill Burgess contacted the State Patrol in February and provided two letters forwarded to him from a certified public accountant who was contacted after the president and CEO of Generations Bank in Exeter found suspicious activity on an account.
The bank account belonged to two sisters in their 90s living in nursing homes.
In the letters, one addressed to the Counsel for Discipline, which reviews allegations of unethical conduct of attorneys, the CPA said Waldron paid herself through checks written on the bank and he believed the amounts to be “egregious.”
Since 2012, “Waldron had written checks to herself with little or no oversight from the (victim’s) checking account totaling $186,799,” True wrote in the affidavit.
One of the sisters met with True in March and said they paid Waldron for work managing their farm, but she found the charges on the account excessive.
True said in a letter to the bank CEO that Waldron said she had provided legal services for the farm for almost 30 years and represented them in a fight against TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
He said she provided a 19-page itemized list of all the hours she spent related to the pipeline, but it included discrepancies. Among them, True said, Waldron billed for a Jan. 25, 2017, trip to Lincoln for a hearing in the Legislature on the pipeline. But that day there wasn’t a hearing on the pipeline and court records show she was in court representing a defendant in York.
It was one of a number of apparent errors.
At a meeting with State Patrol investigators June 14, Waldron said she may have made some errors and had dates wrong and needed to refer to her records. She said she would provide records of individual invoices for checks she wrote to herself. But, True said, that hasn’t happened.
He said when comparing the checks Waldron wrote to herself to the 19-page invoice, none seemed to match.
“Instead, the checks seem to be arbitrarily written,” True wrote in the affidavit.
He said Waldron wrote herself 29 checks totaling $63,932 on the account, but that only $7,019.42 could be attributed to the management of the farm.
Waldron is seeking re-election in York County this year.