Charleston woman pleads guilty to fraud, money laundering scheme

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – A Charleston woman has entered a guilty plea in federal court on two counts of wire fraud and one felony count of money laundering.

Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia Lisa Johnston says Misty Brotherton-Tanner, 41, of Charleston faces up to 50 years in prison, a $750,000 fine and three years of supervised release when she is sentenced on July 15, 2021. Johnston also says Brotherton-Tanner has agreed to pay $537,173 in restitution.

Johnston’s office says court documents and statements claim Brotherton-Tanner provided accounting and bookkeeping services for multiple local businesses in the Charleston area. The court documents, Brotherton-Tanner schemed to defraud these businesses from at least 2014 to 2020.

The U.S. Attorney’s office says Brotherton-Tanner electronically transferred money and moved the electronic transactions between counts that hid the fraud “under the guise of legitimate transactions” she was “not permitted to pay herself” from the business accounts. According to Johnston, Brotherton-Tanner moved the transferred money to her personal checking accounts, defrauding various businesses of a combined total of $537,173.

The court documents say she also listed her self as an employee for various businesses, set up fraudulent accounts in the name s of “fictional workers” she would then add to the business accounting software, and misrepresented she had paid state and federal taxes for the business when she had not done so.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Brotherton-Tanner’s mother, Lois Brotherton, has also entered a guilty plea in federal court for her role in her daughter’s scheme. Court documents say Brotherton-Tanner also stole money “on behalf of and at the request of her mother.” Brotherton is scheduled for sentencing April 28, 2021.

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