Keyser attorney pleads guilty in federal court, faces 20 years
MARTINSBURG – A Keyser attorney admitted to fraud charges in federal court Friday and faces up to 20 years in prison.
Timothy Mark Sirk, 62, who lives and has practiced law in Keyser since 1983, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, which involved “submitting at least 33 fraudulent pay vouchers for his alleged public defender services,” according to acting United States Attorney Randolph J. Bernard.
Sirk, who had served as a court-appointed attorney in Mineral County, also admitted to forging the signature of a Circuit Court Judge when he submitted the vouchers.
As a result of his actions, Sirk obtained at least $26,152.68 fraudulently in the time period between December 2016 to June 2018.
In February 2018, the West Virginia Supreme Court had suspended Sirk’s license to practice law for three years after upholding the Lawyer Disciplinary Board’s finding that he had committed multiple violations of the West Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct.
The board’s action came as the result of two complaints filed against Sirk: One, that he had without permission withdrawn $16,800 from a joint account he held with a long-time friend and client which consisted of money from the sale of the client’s mother’s house, and a second complaint where he failed to follow through after being paid by a client to file bankruptcy on her behalf.
In the first complaint, Sirk returned the entire $16,800 in question; in the second complaint, the client filed a civil suit against him and he repaid half the retainer fee, saying he had earned the other half with the work he had completed on the case.
In his testimony before the Hearing Panel Subcommittee of the Lawyer Disciplinary Board, Sirk cited various personal and health issues that had spurred him to commit the fraudulent acts.
For this last guilty plea in federal court, Sirk faces up to 20 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $250,000. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Sirk had not previously had any disciplinary issues prior to 2018.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Omps-Botteicher is prosecuting the case on behalf of the government. The West Virginia State Police investigated.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert W. Trumble presided.