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Press Release

Charleston Woman Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud and Money Laundering

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of West Virginia

Several local businesses defrauded of over $500,000

CHARLESTON, W.Va. –  Misty Brotherton-Tanner, 41, of Charleston entered a guilty plea in federal court to two felony counts of wire fraud and one felony count of money laundering.  She 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.  Brotherton-Tanner has also agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $537,173.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Misty Brotherton-Tanner provided bookkeeping and accounting services for several local businesses in the Charleston area.  From at least 2014 until 2020, Misty Brotherton-Tanner devised a scheme to defraud these businesses.  Brotherton-Tanner would electronically transfer money and move the electronic transactions between accounts in such a way so as to hide her fraud under the guise of legitimate transactions   Brotherton-Tanner was not permitted to pay herself from these business accounts.  Brotherton-Tanner’s fraud included listing herself as an employee for the various businesses, setting up fraudulent accounts in the name of fictional workers that Brotherton-Tanner would then add to the business accounting software, and even misrepresenting that she had paid state and federal taxes for the business when she had not done so. All throughout the scheme, Brotherton-Tanner moved the transferred money into her personal checking accounts. In total, Misty Brotherton-Tanner defrauded various businesses of $537,173.

Misty Brotherton-Tanner also stole money on behalf of and at the request of her mother, Lois Brotherton, who also has entered a guilty plea in federal court for her role in the scheme.  Lois Brotherton will be sentenced April 28, 2021.

Acting United States Attorney Lisa G. Johnston thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI), the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and the West Virginia State Tax Department-Criminal Investigation Division for their excellent work in this case.

Senior United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr. presided over the guilty plea hearing.  Assistant United States Attorneys Erik S. Goes and Kathleen Robeson are handling the prosecution.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:20-cr-00146.


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Updated April 13, 2021