Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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February 22, 2010

Trial dates set for men facing embezzlement charges

PRINCETON — Trial dates were set Monday for five men who were indicted by the Mercer County Grand Jury on charges such as fraudulent scheme and embezzlement in connection with an investigation of the Bluefield Sanitary Board.

During docket day at the Mercer County Courthouse, a June 8 trial date was set by Judge Derek C. Swope for each of the five men. All of those trials were scheduled as of Monday to be before Judge William Sadler, according to information at the Mercer County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

The men included Robert Terry Honaker, 58, of Wytheville, Va., who was indicted on charges of fraudulent scheme and obtaining money by false pretenses; Steven Burkhart Sr. 52, of Bluefield, fraudulent scheme, falsifying accounts; Joseph Anthony Nunn, 32, of Bluefield, fraudulent scheme; Dewayne Houk, 52, Bluefield, embezzlement; and Kirk Anthony Simpkins, 40, of Bramwell, obtaining money by false pretenses.

Each of the indictments resulted from an investigation of alleged wrongdoing at the Bluefield Sanitary Board, said Prosecuting Attorney Timm Boggess.

Honaker is a former executive director of the sanitary board. His position was terminated in January 2007.

Investigators with several law enforcement agencies worked on the case for several years. The current sanitary board has been working to fix problems caused by years of neglect, said Bluefield City Manager Andy Merriman, who is a member of the current board.

Merriman said the case had been the subject of a complex investigation “involving law enforcement agencies at one level or another.”

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