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Tax preparer could face more than 250 years in prison for fraud scheme

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – A Charleston tax preparer and her mother have been indicted in connection with an alleged fraud scheme.

Misty Brotherton-Tanner, 40, was charged in an 18-count indictment with wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, unlawful monetary transactions and making false statements, according to United States Attorney Mike Stuart. If convicted, she faces up to 270 years in prison, a $4.5 million fine and three years of supervised release, if convicted.

Stuart says from 2014 until March 13, 2020, Brotherton-Tanner allegedly provided tax preparation and bookkeeping services to several businesses, including three West Virginia corporations in Kanawha County.  The indictment alleges she had also previously provided the same services to a now-dissolved Kanawha County non-profit. Brotherton-Tanner allegedly had access to each company’s accounting software connected to their bank accounts.

According to the indictment, Brotherton-Tanner allegedly used QuickBooks software to embezzle from the local businesses by creating “ghost” employee accounts and then funneled the money to the employee accounts before ultimately transferring the money to bank accounts over which she maintained control.

In a separate five count indictment, Brotherton-Tanner’s mother, Lois Brotherton, 65, was indicted separately on five counts conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud. If convicted of the charges, she faces up to 100 years in prison, a $1 million fine and three years of supervised release.

According to the indictment, Brotherton also provided bookkeeping, accounting and website design services to the same Kanawha County now-dissolved non-profit organization as Brotherton-Tanner. 

Stuart says the indictment alleges Brotherton asked Brotherton-Tanner to write her checks from the non-profit’s bank account in 2017, and allegedly Brotherton-Tanner agreed to do so.  Brotherton allegedly received the money her daughter would transfer from three different companies, without their knowledge or consent, at the non-profit.

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