Charleston Woman Sentenced to Prison for Defrauding Local Businesses
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Misty Brotherton-Tanner, 41, of Charleston, was sentenced to 33 months in prison for the felony offenses of wire fraud and money laundering and was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $537,173. Brotherton-Tanner pleaded guilty to the charges in April 2021.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Brotherton-Tanner provided bookkeeping and accounting services for several local businesses in the Charleston area. From at least 2014 until 2020, 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 scheme included listing herself as an employee for the various businesses, setting up fraudulent accounts in the name of fictional workers that she would then add to the business accounting software, and even misrepresenting that she had paid state and federal taxes for the businesses when she had not done so. Throughout the scheme, Brotherton-Tanner moved the transferred money into her personal checking accounts. In total, Brotherton-Tanner defrauded various businesses of $537,173.
Brotherton-Tanner also stole money on behalf of and at the request of her mother, Lois Brotherton, who also pleaded guilty in connection with her role in the scheme and was sentenced to a period of probation.
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. imposed the sentence. Assistant United States Attorneys Erik S. Goes and Kathleen Robeson handled 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.