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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 15, 2018

Former Law Firm Office Manager Charged with Defrauding Law Firm of over $400,000 and Filing False Tax Returns

Memphis, TN – A federal grand jury has returned a superseding indictment against Misty West, 40, of Olive Branch, Mississippi. D. Michael Dunavant, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, announced the superseding indictment today.

The superseding indictment alleges four counts of wire fraud, one count of interstate transportation of monies stolen or taken by fraud, and three counts of filing false tax returns.

The grand jury originally returned an indictment against West last May. The original indictment charged West with wire fraud and interstate transportation of monies stolen or taken by fraud. The superseding indictment returned Tuesday, February 13, 2018, also alleges that West filed false tax returns for calendar years 2013-2015.

According to the superseding indictment, West was employed as the office manager, bookkeeper and paralegal at the Fowler Law Firm, located on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Avenue in Memphis. The superseding indictment alleges that between August 2011 and July 2016, West engaged in a scheme to defraud the law firm and its owner, Charles Wesley Fowler, of more than $400,000.

According to the superseding indictment, West used the internet to pay her personal cell phone bill from the firm’s account, and also to make a payment to the IRS on a personal tax debt.

The superseding indictment alleges that in other instances, Fowler gave West checks signed in blank to pay the firm bills. West completed the payee information and the amounts. The superseding indictment alleges that West routinely made some the checks payable to herself and deposited them to one of her bank accounts and thereafter withdrew funds.

Updated February 15, 2018