Attorney's Secretary Pleads Guilty To Fraud Of Over $150,000
ABINGDON, VIRGINIA – Mandie Marie Bishop, age 33, of Jonesville, Virginia, pled guilty yesterday, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Abingdon to two counts of bank fraud and one count of making false statements in a matter within the jurisdiction of the executive branch of the United States.
Evidence was presented at yesterday’s hearing that Bishop worked as a secretary and assistant in a law office located in Lee County, Virginia. Bishop’s employer, an attorney in Lee County, Virginia, became conservator of an elderly woman’s assets in late December 2011. Bishop’s employer allowed Bishop to access the elderly woman’s bank accounts at Farmers and Miners Bank and Lee Bank and Trust Company, but Bishop did not have signature authority on the accounts. As early as January 17, 2012, Bishop began fraudulently issuing and cashing checks from the elderly woman’s accounts.
Between January 17, 2012, and May 16, 2013, Bishop caused $106,672 to be fraudulently obtained from the elderly woman’s bank account at Lee Bank and Trust Company. Between June 29, 2012 and May 16, 2013, Bishop caused at least $11,382 to be fraudulently obtained from the checking account at Farmers and Miners Bank. On May 16, 2013, after Farmers and Miners Bank made her employer aware of the fraudulent activity at the bank, her employer deposited $10,558 into the account to replace a portion of the missing funds.
Bishop continued in her role as a secretary and assistant with the same employer and between May 17, 2013, and December 10, 2013, caused at least an additional $50,341 to fraudulently be obtained from the elderly woman’s checking account.
In addition to fraudulently issuing and cashing checks, Bishop caused over $7,000 to be used from the conservator accounts for unnecessary expenses. As a part of Bishop’s scheme to defraud, she also caused certificates of deposit to be cashed and caused money to be transferred from an interest bearing savings account to a non-interest bearing checking account, thereby causing the elderly woman to be deprived of accumulated interest that she otherwise would have received.
On May 8, 2014, Bishop’s employer deposited $82,246 into the elderly woman’s Lee Bank and Trust Company bank account and on August 19, 2014, her employer caused $7,285 to be deposited into the elderly woman’s Lee Bank and Trust Company bank account.
As part of the plea agreement, Bishop agreed to have restitution ordered for all funds directly taken as well as amounts paid for services not rendered and for unnecessary expenses that were incurred.
United States District Judge James P. Jones scheduled sentencing for December 15, 2014, at 10:30 a.m. At sentencing, Bishop faces a statutory maximum sentence of 65 years in prison and a fine of $2,250,000. The sentencing guidelines will call for a sentence significantly less than the statutory maximum.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the United States Secret Service. Assistant United States Attorney Randy Ramseyer is prosecuting the case for the United States.