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Justice News

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

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Former Law Firm Office Manager Pleads Guilty to Filing False Tax Returns

Memphis, TN – Misty West, 41, of Olive Branch, Mississippi, appeared before U.S. District Judge Thomas L. Parker and entered a guilty plea to filing false tax returns. D. Michael Dunavant, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee announced the guilty plea today.

According to a superseding indictment returned by the federal grand jury in February of this year, West, the former office manager, bookkeeper and paralegal at the Fowler Law Firm, engaged in a scheme to defraud the firm and its owner, Charles Wesley Fowler, of more than $400,000 between August 2011 and July 2016.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said: "This defendant victimized her employer and defrauded the United States by using her position of trust to commit crimes of dishonesty. Financial fraud does not pay, and this office will aggressively prosecute these cases to hold offenders accountable and provide restitution to the victims and the government."

The superseding indictment also alleged that West filed false tax returns for calendar years 2013-2015 by substantially underreporting her total income for those years. West entered her guilty plea to those charges.

As part of a written plea agreement filed with the court, West agreed to pay restitution to Fowler’s estate and to the Internal Revenue Service.

West faces a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment, $100,000 fine and one year supervised release on each of the three counts of filing false tax returns. Sentencing is scheduled on October 25, 2018, before U.S. District Judge Thomas L. Parker.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Division.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carroll L. Andre´ III and Lorraine Craig are prosecuting this case on the government’s behalf.

Updated July 18, 2018