Former blind services official arrested for cheating state

The former rehabilitation manager for the state Bureau of Services to the Blind has been charged with using state money to buy thousands of dollars worth of equipment for himself.

Kirby Fisher appeared Monday in Reno Justice Court to face the charges. A preliminary hearing in his case was set for Sept. 17.

Fisher, a Reno resident, was charged with obtaining money or property under false pretenses. He could receive up to six years in prison if convicted.

The complaint filed by the state Attorney General's Office followed an eight-month investigation that started when other officials in the bureau became suspicious of several purchases made by Fisher.

As part of his job, he was authorized to use state money to make purchases for visually impaired clients of the bureau to help set them up in business.

Deputy Attorney General Dave Neidert said the investigation is still continuing, tracking Fisher's activities over the past eight years. He said the total involved in the case could rise to $30,000 to $50,000 by the time the investigation is complete.

According to the affidavit filed in the case, investigator Curtis Edmonds was able to establish fraudulent purchases dating back as far as November 1993 and continuing until Fisher resigned from the bureau in December 2000 after being confronted with the allegations.

According to the affidavit, Fisher's case notes said he purchased tables, chairs, a gas grill, cooking utensils and other items totaling $2,920 for bureau client Delores Walker, who wanted to open a catering business in Virginia City. But the woman said she neither requested nor received any of those items.

"When confronted by his bureau supervisor with the name Delores Walker, Fisher immediately confessed that the case was false and that he had purchased items with purchase orders and not given them to the client," the affidavit says.

His notes said he purchased $4,360 worth of computer equipment for another bureau client, Thomas Lee. He said Lee received only a computer monitor.

"A review of other files also showed that Fisher had made purchases of goods on behalf of clients - and further investigation revealed that the clients never received the items supposedly purchased on their behalf by the bureau including purchases of clothes, cameras, shelving and power equipment," the affidavit states.

It says equipment including tools, furniture, weight training equipment, computers and clothing, a washer and dryer and other items were seized from Fisher's garage.

He was released pending trial on his own recognizance.


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