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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of West Virginia

Friday, April 30, 2021

Florida woman admits to bankruptcy fraud

CLARKSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – Heather Lynn Pratt, of Fort Myers, Florida, has admitted to bankruptcy fraud, Acting U.S. Attorney Randolph J. Bernard announced.

Pratt, 32, pleaded guilty to one count of “Fraudulent Concealment of Bankruptcy Assets.” At the time of the offense, Pratt was employed by Emerald Grande, LLC and had access to the finances of the Florida-based company. Emerald Grande was operating two La Quinta Inn & Suites in West Virginia, one in Elkview and the other in Summersville, as well as a commercial property in Charleston known as the Kanawha Landing Property. Emerald Grande was a debtor in a bankruptcy case filed and pending in Clarksburg United States Bankruptcy Court.

Pratt admitted to concealing more than $145,000 she embezzled from the operating account of the LaQuinta Inn & Suites in Summersville from the bankruptcy trustee, when in fact, that money belonged to the debtor, Emerald Grande, LLC.

As a part of the plea agreement, Pratt will be required to pay restitution in the amount of $145,386.93 to the U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee.

Pratt is facing up to five 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.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jarod J. Douglas is prosecuting the case on behalf of the government. The FBI investigated.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael John Aloi presided.

Updated April 30, 2021