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Press Release

Charleston Woman Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud Conspiracy

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

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – United States Attorney Mike Stuart announced that Lois Brotherton, 65, of Charleston, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.  She faces up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release when she is sentenced on April 7, 2021.  Brotherton has also agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $48,509.

“Brotherton is a fraudster that carried out this scheme for personal enrichment,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy.  We take these cases very seriously and do all that we can to bring justice to the victims.  I commend our law enforcement partners for their excellent work in this case.”

Brotherton once provided bookkeeping and accounting services to a Kanawha County non-profit organization that formally dissolved in 2014.  In 2019, Lois Brotherton asked a co-conspirator to write her checks from the non-profit’s bank account. Brotherton knew she was not entitled to those funds and that there were no funds available for her use. The co-conspirator agreed to do so.  Brotherton would receive checks as though the non-profit organization had paid her money and would then electronically deposit the money into her personal account.  To cover the wire fraud,  the co-conspirator would electronically transfer money from three different companies for which the co-defendant provided accounting services, and without the companies knowledge, consent, or permission. As a result of this fraud scheme, Lois Brotherton defrauded the companies of at least $48,509.

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 conducted the investigation.

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

Please note: In a related matter, Misty Brotherton-Tanner, 40, was charged in an 18-count indictment with wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, unlawful monetary transactions and making false statements.  An indictment is merely an allegation and Misty Brotherton Tanner is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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-00147.


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Updated January 5, 2021